Syrian Women Refugees in Jordan, Stage Adaptation of "The Trojan Women"





Syria: The Trojan Women Theatre Project

WHAT: The Trojan Women theatre project is purely humanitarian. We are putting on a series of drama workshops of Euripides’ 415BC Play The Trojan Women with Syrian refugees, working towards staging a production of the play. We are casting amateur Syrian refugee actors and employing Syrian refugee crew where possible. Alongside this project and going into production this spring will be a film based on the play, a separate entity, which will cast participants from the workshops and the play alongside high profile professional Syrian, Palestinian and British actors and crew.

Euripides’ The Trojan Women is set at the fall of Troy. It is about the fate of the defeated and exiled. Weapons may change but war is eternal and there are enormous parallels between the fate of refugees from Syria today and that of the women of Troy. The women of Syria have seen their homes destroyed and their families wounded and killed, raped and brutalized, and have been forced to flee into exile. Enormously powerful, The Trojan Women was written by Euripides in 415 BC as a reaction to the appalling behaviour of Athens when it took the island of Melos - the men were all killed and the women and children sold into slavery.

The documentary film maker Yasmin Fedaa is making a documentary on the workshops and performance process, including interviews with those involved. This will be shown everywhere from refugee camps to gala screenings and film festivals internationally.

WHERE: The drama workshops are running in Amman, Jordan for six week and culminate in a production of the play.

WHEN: The workshop process began on 6th November, with the opening night of the play on 17th December 2013.

WHY: Our aim is to provide employment and activity for refugees, to raise awareness of the refugee crisis, to provide a legacy from the play project that the refugees will own and be able to run themselves, and a documentary and recording of the performance that can be shown around the world.

1. WORK THROUGH TRAUMA – ALLEVIATE DEPRESSION Once refugees' physical needs have been seen to - food, water,
security, shelter, their main problems are often boredom, depression and the psychological legacy of the trauma they have faced. By holding drama groups and work-shopping the play with refugees, we aim to help the Syrian émigrés work out some of the emotional trauma they have suffered through the parallels and similarity of their stories as they weave them into the unique play text they will create. We would also hope that the six weeks spent working on the play alongside therapists would help alleviate depression and give people a focus for their lives, empowering their future.

2. LEGACY – THE PLAY The theatrical performance of The Trojan Women will be the finale of the drama workshops on location. The performances of the play in a refugee camp will be the finale of the project, which can continue after the work on location and which we aim to go on tour.  We plan to show the documentary and a recording of the performance in refugee camps not just in Jordan but also internationally, as well as at international film festivals and gala screenings.

3. PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT When refugees lose their homes, they also lose their jobs. Our aim is to provide paid employment wherever possible, not just for the lead actors, the rest of the cast, extras, and the crew, but also the catering and set- building –for example building a model of the Trojan Horse.

WHO: Yasmin Fedaa is an award-winning documentary film maker. She is also the co-founder and programme director of the Reel Film Festivals.

Alongside the theatrical production will be a film production of the play involving some of the same cast, as well as professional Syrian, British and Palestinian actors. It will be directed by Refuge Productions’ William Stirling and Charlotte Eagar, (writers and producers of the award-winning ‘Scooterman’ - Best of the Fest in Palm Springs 2010). The multi award-winning Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir will be consultant director on the project. 

Producers: After reading Classics at Oxford, Georgina Paget began her career in film assisting the award-winning director Joanna Hogg. She has worked across distribution, agency and production, and has produced several short films, this year producing her first feature film 'The Show'. Georgina Paget, William Stirling and Charlotte Eagar are all classicists, and fell in love with The Trojan Women while studying at university.

Itab Azzam is a Syrian filmmaker with a background in fiction and documentary projects. In 2012 she made two short films, ‘Live in Homs’ and ‘An Artist in Exile’. Her extensive work for television includes the BBC’s ‘Syrian School’, ‘East West’, a series for TRT, SBS and France 5 and ‘Bizarre Foods: Syria’ for the Travel Channel. She is also UK co-ordinator for the Syrian charity Matar. 

Co producers: The award winning Palestinian production company Philistine Films. This looks set to be the first ever official UK-Palestinian co-production.