ABOUT MY WORK
I am a director, theatre maker, creative producer and activist and have collaborated with some of the most radical theatre companies and individuals world-wide. I have directed productions that have been performed in leading theatres in Britain and internationally including at the Young Vic, Schaubühne and New York Skirball. I work with people who are fighting on the forefront of social and political change which has taken me to the heart of the most pressing issues in the UK to wars in Afghanistan and Yemen, to the occupation in Palestine, humanitarian crises in Lebanon and Haiti, the refugee crisis in Europe and the Syrian revolution.
The key ideas behind the productions I create, begun to be formed in 2009 when I started work at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine. This theatre holds at its core the use of culture as a form of resistance and individual, social and political change through art. My experiences as an Associate Director across nine years at The Freedom Theatre has allowed me to work in a 400 seat venue whose vision has a fluidity between political ideas, community, youth and professional productions.
In 2011 Juliano Mer Khamis the Artistic Director invited me to co-direct an adaption of Alice in Wonderland and after 40 sold out performances became the theatres most successful production at that time. One week after the final performance, Juliano was murdered. In the immediate months and coming years I worked as part of the team who continued the theatre’s vision, circumnavigating the void that Juliano left. The artistic and practical challenges have been immense, the building has been attacked by the Israeli Army, death threats have been sent and members of the theatre have been arrested, interrogated, imprisoned and psychologically tortured. My work with The Freedom theatre has prepared me for tough challenges under extreme pressure, taught me the complexed nuances of leading through culture and how when executed in the right way, real change can be made through art.
Outside of The Freedom Theatre my work continues to focus around the telling of social-political personal narratives and is often inspired and made in collaboration by grassroots activist movements. I collaborate with a diverse range of people from youth, refugees, activists, journalists, resistance fighters and everyday members of society and I work from the initial conception of an idea, often using devising, verbatim, testimonial theatre, adaptions, and working as dramaturg throughout the process. I have developed projects with some of Britain’s most exciting playwrights including Anders Lustgarten, Nessah Muthy, Luke Barnes, Bola Agbaje, Hassan Abdulrazzak and Racheal Ofori. I have toured production to major theatres in both the UK and Internationally as well as taking performances to a range of places from leading theatres to refugee camps, community centres, prisons, the street, schools and colleges, a caravan and a boat shed
My productions and the creation process have featured in documentaries including World to Hear about the Queens of Syria and a Chilean documentary on The Siege with music by Roger Walters. My play The Fear Of Breathing was published with Oberon Books and I was a contributing writer to Rehearsing Freedom which focused on cultural resistance in Palestine.
During my time a director on attachment at The Old Vic as part of the Old Vic 12 I was named one of Vogue’s Major Players of British Theatre and Vanity Fair’s 14 British Theatre Talents Ready to Break Out.
The Host developed with The National Youth Theatre and written by Nessah Muthy, was been nominated for the Writers Guild Award and And Here I Am by Hassan Abdulrazzak won the Sharm El Sheikh award for best production.
I am currently on the board of the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and was on the board of Papatango Theatre company for four years.
I was a creative producer at Ice&Fire one of the UK’s leading human rights theatre companies. Our Actors For Human Rights network was specifically designed to create sustainable low cost performances that could be performed anywhere. This unique model combined activism and theatre and consists of over 700 actors across Britain, who come together to perform weekly at conferences, festivals, churches, universities or similar spaces.
I was an Associate Artist at The Red Room led by Topher Campbell. We created work that combined theatre, activism, debate and multimedia, leading the conversation around equality, diversity, race, sexuality, feminism and class. One of the highlights for me was building The Oikos Project, a pop up theatre space made out of recycled materials designed by award winning Berlin architects Kobberling and Kaltwasser, and built with over 1000 volunteers. The project specifically explored how sustainable theatre can be made and was nominated for the What’s On Stage Event and the Urban Intervention Award (Berlin) and have won the AJ Small Projects prize and AJ Sustainability prize.
I have trained at Drama Centre, Central St Martins doing a BA in directing, trained in acting and directing at the Vakhtangov School in Moscow and studied film directing at the Metropolitan Film School in Ealing Film Studios.