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Queens Of Syria

West Yorkshire Playhouse
A modern adaptation of Euripedes’ anti-war tragedy The Trojan Women with an all-female cast of Syrian refugees


'I have a scream I want the world to hear'

A ground-breaking production featuring an all-female cast of Syrian refugees comes to the Courtyard Theatre at West Yorkshire Playhouse on 18 July.

QUEENS OF SYRIA is a modern adaptation of Euripedes’ anti-war tragedy THE TROJAN WOMEN from Developing Artists and Refuge Productions. First staged in Amman in 2013 and the subject of an award-winning documentary, QUEENS OF SYRIA features 13 female Syrian females, who skilfully amalgamate their own narratives of ferocious war and bitter exile with the ancient Greek text.

Acclaimed young director Zoe Lafferty will join the production to work with the cast. Associate of Palestine’s Freedom Theatre and member of the Old Vic 12, Lafferty’s work has focussed on current conflicts, political power imbalance and situations of human rights violations, and has taken her from wars in Afghanistan and Yemen, to the occupation of Palestine, humanitarian crises in Lebanon and Haiti, and working at the heart of some of the pressing issues in the UK.

Zoe Lafferty said, “I feel privileged to work on this production that directly voices the powerful story from women that have survived war and are currently refugees. This piece encompasses the many challenges they have face whilst being a celebration of life, a declaration of hope and an exploration of the future.”

Cast members share their experiences of being involved in the original production:

“We came into a new society, a new way of life: we were isolated. Doing this play helped us break the ice; we started to connect with others and make friends. It gave us the courage we needed to talk about our problems frankly and clearly. We feel that we can do something for Syria, and the Syrian people, by sending a message to the whole world – hopefully someone can help us end this tragedy” – Khaula.

“Doing the play impacted our lives in so many ways – now we are all Trojan” – Maha.

QUEENS OF SYRIA comes to the UK for just three weeks. This offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the refugees themselves, and a revelatory experience for British audiences who will hear first-hand the harsh realities of life as a refugee.

In January 2014 West Yorkshire Playhouse became the country’s first Theatre of Sanctuary, a public statement and recognition of the commitment to being a place of safety, hospitality and support for refugees and asylum seekers. The Playhouse works closely with refugee organisations and volunteers from the refugee and asylum seeking community in Leeds to offer a range of creative and practical projects. These include cultural celebrations, refugee training workshops and Asmarina Voices women’s singing group as well as free tickets to Playhouse productions.


Queens of Syria
18 July, Courtyard Theatre, 7.30pm
Tickets £10-£15
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online