Interview with Iranian/Australian Writer & Actor Osamah Sami by Kyriaki Maragozidis. Originally broadcast 13/6/16 Live to Air on Voiceprint Arts, Three D Radio 93.7fm in South Australia.
Interview with Iranian/Australian Writer & Actor Osamah Sami by Kyriaki Maragozidis. Originally broadcast 13/6/16 Live to Air on Voiceprint Arts, Three D Radio 93.7fm in South Australia.
Jon Faine’s conversation hour with playwright Samah Sabawi, actor Miriam Margolyes and novelist Ceridwen Dovey
Friends, this week our eyes were glued to our laptops watching in disbelief yet another horrible attack on the people of Gaza. We worried about our friends, partners and loved ones. Within theTales of a City by the Sea production team we worried about our partners in Gaza, our director Ali Abu Yassin and our representative in Gaza, Aya El-Zinati. Aya is a young dynamic and talented film maker and journalist who is the epitome of the human spirit we try to convey in our play. Before the war broke out, she promised to make a new video for our project. Imagine our surprise when she sent this email yesterday with a link to the video she completed while listening to the sounds of the falling bombs outside her window. With her permission, we are proud to share her email as it offers a deep insight into life in Gaza.
Email from Aya
How are you?
I imagine this is not the right time to even talk about this but I know I have work to do. True, I’ve only slept two hours in the last three days, and I’ve been away from home most of the time but I have been thinking of you. I’ve been wondering how can I produce the video (Trailer for Tales of a City by the Sea) and what if something happens to me and I (die) before finishing it.
So, every day at dawn I try to do more edits and I don’t know but I hope this time you will like it. Please believe me I’ve tried my best to do it better than the first cut. If you don’t like it and we remain alive I will do a better one for you.
What is important is that I want to tell you a few stories we hear about the martyrs in Gaza. I want to tell you so you know what Gaza love stories are like in reality…in war… in these conditions.
On the first day when 8 people were killed, one of them was from the Qassam brigade. His name was Abdlerahman AlZamly. He was engaged to a lady, maybe you’ve seen her in some of the photos that went viral as she was saying goodbye to him. They were engaged for a long time and couldn’t get married because they were waiting for the Rafah crossing to open and for cement to come into Gaza so they can finish building their house. All they needed was one ton of cement. Of course there were no crossings open and even if they were to open and if cement came in, they may not have afforded it because it would have been five times its actual worth.
Yesterday, the Kaware family was martyred in Khan Yunis. Their house was bombed. Eight members of the family were killed and neighbours injured some have serious injuries. When I went to report it I almost had a breakdown. I told the photographer to take photos. My stomach turned. But I tried to be strong…to be normal.
Yesterday a very young man Fakhr AlAjoory was martyred on his motorcycle and the scene was horrific. Before he was martyred he wrote a status on his Facebook: ‘when I die, some will mourn me, some will feel relieved, some will remember me forever, some wont care, but that’s o.k. it is enough for me to be going to a better place’.
Last night they bombed the Hamad family. The family was sitting in their garden drinking coffee at night. The missile landed suddenly and the problem is the whole family died except for the youngest child, 5 years old, he is now orphaned and with no one left to take care of him.
My father is a maintenance engineer at the hospital and because of the emergency situation there he doesn’t come home much. I try as much as possible to check on my mom at home in between my work shifts. Anyway, as I was walking to our house, I saw lots of nervous people in the street, some were running it turned out the neighbours were told to evacuate their homes because it will be bombed in ten minutes. I ran to my mother and told her to hurry up and leave. I told her they’re bombing the house next door. The problem is if a missile lands next door our entire house will be destroyed. I kept begging her to leave but she insisted on staying. She said she would never leave her home. I kept begging there was no time…I stayed with her preferring to die with her than to live and mourn her death. Can you believe the missile landed but did not explode? The authorities came and they carried it away. So we’re still alive.
There is no safe place in Gaza at all. Every place is a target. This means Israel is bankrupt and has no list of targets so it just bombs sporadically at civilian structures. Despite it all, the poor people of Gaza still go out into the street, they buy food for Ramadan, they make kenafah and katayef for desert and they try to live the spirit of the holy month.
What upsets me the most is that the situation in this city has become so painful. There are many who don’t have enough to buy food. And on top of that, there is war and destruction. Many live on handouts or borrowed money. Some people built their homes from borrowed money only to see their homes destroyed and with their home gone, so goes everything else they have. No one seems to understand the depth of our pain. Is it not enough we’re losing ourselves, losing our lives, losing our future, and outside, the rest of the world carries slogans ‘Gaza under attack’ or ‘Gaza under fire’ but listen first about what is really happening in Gaza. Some people even post the wrong photos from Syria or from Iraq this made the international media discredit what’s really happening here and this played to Israel’s advantage. But believe me what happened here in the past three days is a massacre.
What also really upset me and frustrates me is that no one is telling our stories. Our real human stories. They talk about us as enemies or they reduce us to numbers and statistics.
I am sorry I’ve given you a headache with my rant. But I really wanted to talk to you and tell you our stories.
I’ve been in Gaza for nine years now and in that time I’ve lived through three wars. Each war has many stories. If I don’t die in this war, I will write a book about those three wars….hahaha…I remember how innocent I was when I came here and how this place made me a human being. Seriously. I think as much as I am tired of being in this place, it has given me life.
All my friends outside Gaza call me and message me. They are worried this time I will get killed. One friend said ‘Promise me Aya you will not die. If you do I will be very upset with you’. They say if you need anything … I said yes…I’ve ran out of coal for my water pipe…I can’t smoke sheesha now. hahaha….:)
Pray for me.
Here is the video.
This is part of our Tales of a City by the Sea video series. To learn more about this project click on the home page, or visit our youtube channel and watch other short videos from the various key artists involved in this project. We are now half way through our fundraising campaign. Please bring us closer to our goal by making a donation, and by helping us spread the word by way of sharing our videos on social media and talking to your friends about this unique new and exciting project.
Read more about this project here
The play Tales of a City by the Sea is a unique and poetic journey into the lives of ordinary people in the besieged Gaza strip prior to, during and after its bombardment during the winter of 2008. Jomana, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Shati (beach) refugee camp in Gaza falls in love with Rami, an American born Palestinian doctor and activist who arrives on the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Their love is met with many challenges forcing Rami to make incredible decisions the least of which is to take a dangerous journey through the underground tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt. Although on the surface this love story appears to explore the relationship between diaspora Palestinians and Palestinians under occupation, there is a broader and more universal theme that emerges – one of human survival and tenacity. Tales of a City by the Sea avoids political pitfalls, ideological agendas and clichés by focusing on the human story of the people in Gaza. Although the play’s characters are fictional, the script is based on real life events and is a product of a collection of real stories the author Samah Sabawi and her family have experienced during the events of the past several years. Sabawi has written most of the poetry in the play during the three-week bombardment of Gaza in 2008/2009.
The writer Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian-Canadian-Australian published writer, commentator and playwright. She has travelled the world and lived in its far corners, yet always felt as though she was still trapped in her place of birth Gaza. The war torn besieged and isolated strip has shaped her understanding of her identity and her humanity. So what else could Sabawi do but to indulge in Gaza’s overwhelming presence and to succumb to tell the stories of her loved ones back home. Her most recent play Tales of a City by the Sea is dedicated to them and to all of those who still manage to have faith and hope even as the sky rains death and destruction.
The script is available to interested theatre makers upon request. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Follow Samah Sabawi on Twitter @gazaheart
Samah Sabawi’s professional bio can be found here
For more information on Samah Sabawi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samah_Sabawi
One day before her final exams, Amal has a concerning nightmare: she is Palestine and she has decided to die.
Amal’s nightmare drafts between confusion, torture and despair – notions set as strange characters that symbolise some of the key players in world politics that shape the land, history, politics and the occupation of her country. Interrogated and manipulated, Amal is forced into a comatose state and can barely speak.
– This play is important because it’s pointing at the place of the pain inside the Palestinian people’s minds and hearts, says the Director, Nabil Al-Raee.
Suicide Note from Palestine is a window into the younger generation of Palestine; a generation just as hopeless about their present as they are about the future. The play provides a rare glimpse on the general depression, confusion and concerns of a people regarding its land.
Suicide Note from Palestine is a physical video/visual art performance, inspired by 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. It is an exploration of identity and uses social satire to present an image of the national trauma of the Palestinian people.
Suicide Note from Palestine is performed at The Freedom Theatre, Jenin Refugee Camp:
Thursday April 4 Première @16:00
Saturday April 6 @12:00 and @16:00
Sunday April 7 @12:00 and @16:00
For more information visit The Freedom Theatre website.
In the war of 1948, thousands of Palestinians were uprooted from their homes never to return, and playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi is determined to tell their stories.
It was six decades ago, but the fallout from the war continues. A few months ago, one fast-rising, rightwing Israeli party tried to introduce a bill that would ban Palestinians from commemorating the Nakba of 1948, their catastrophe (but which Israelis hail as the creation of their state, the apogee of their independence struggle). In the end, the law will probably be watered down, but the principle seems to have wide support. As far as most Israelis are concerned, they won in 1948, the Palestinians lost, and history has moved on. Except, of course, it hasn’t.
Next week, a compelling new play opens at London’s Young Vic, promising to thrust the discomforting story of that war back into public scrutiny. At the age of 33, Amir Nizar Zuabi, the play’s writer and director, is from a generation of Palestinians raised on stories of the Nakba, haunted by tales of how hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted from their homes, never to return. “We have it as a covert partner in everything,” says Zuabi. “Two of us can sit having coffee and the third person will be Mr Nakba.”
Zuabi was brought up in Nazareth, in the Galilee, where there is a large population of Palestinians living within Israel, and where all around there is evidence of the 1948 war, including ruined villages. One of the razed villages was Baissamoon, a tiny Palestinian community. It is here that Zuabi set his play, I Am Yusuf and This Is My Brother, which tells of two brothers, an ill-fated love, and the dislocation and tragedy brought about by the war.
The play, says Zuabi, began as a personal investigation to scrape away layers of myth. “Why did people make the decision to leave? Or did they make the decision to leave? What would you have done?” Zuabi, living in Israel, found the story had been “hushed up”: “It’s the big taboo, because it’s the primal sin. It is the mother of all problems here. They don’t like talking about it.”
Zuabi’s writing is, however, far from polemical. The Jews who fought to create their state are almost absent; never named, they appear only in the background. “We saw them first in January, then all the time,” says one brother. “They invaded our dreams, our conversation.” Zuabi simply wanted to tell a Palestinian story about Palestinians. “Our narrative is the less known one – history is written by the victors,” he says, but adds: “There is no spite. I find the blame game futile. It’s not like I do theatre to crush Israeli propaganda. I don’t hear Israeli propaganda. I don’t care about it.”
The villagers are divided: should they run or fight? Some see the battle in stark terms. “The war was over before it began,” says one character. “We lost. They won. It was that simple.” But with Britain’s Mandate ending, the same character tells a British officer: “We are not a rubbish heap for your guilt, my friend. We’re in your Middle East and what you sow here you’ll reap in 50 years or 100 years in your lovely London.”
Dropped into the middle of this is the original, sombre recording of the results of the UN vote on the 1947 Partition Plan. Rejected by Palestinians, it was passed by the UN and, but for the war, would have carved Palestine into two states around an internationally protected Jerusalem. “Soviet Union: Yes. United Kingdom: Abstained. United States: Yes . . .”
The play explores the what ifs, says Zuabi. “My grandmother, this Palestinian matriarch, used to say, ‘If you plant what ifs, you’ll sow I wish.’ When I walk around Haifa, in some of the neighbourhoods that are empty, I really have to ask myself, ‘What if that hadn’t happened? What are they doing, these people that once lived here?'”
Zuabi studied acting in Jerusalem, then worked with the al-Kasaba theatre in Ramallah as the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising, took hold. He and his actors produced short sketches that drew unexpectedly large audiences, hungry for relief. The sketches turned into Alive from Palestine, which toured abroad, with runs at the Royal Court and the Young Vic. Zuabi then spent a year working at the Young Vic, studied in Moscow, and returned home to work with the Palestinian National theatre.
I Am Yusuf is the first play from ShiberHur, a new touring theatre company based in Haifa, whose name means Within a Few Inches of Freedom. It has already toured Palestinian villages and refugee camps – communities with little access to the theatre. “We have everything going against us as a theatre movement,” says Zuabi. “Lack of funds, infrastructure, the fact that theatre is not really part of our cultural tradition – we come from a poetic tradition.”
When Zuabi was at drama school, he was the sole Palestinian among Israeli students (one of whom, now a successful actor, later became his wife). Only recently has a drama school opened in Ramallah. Until then, Palestinians went to Israel, if they could obtain the permit, or abroad, if they could afford it. “It’s a new art form for us. We have an audience that’s completely uncatered for and is very thirsty. Once they know theatre exists, they keep coming back.”
He has been surprised by the reaction to the play across the generations. In Jerusalem, an elderly man came up to him after one performance and said: “Thank you very much for telling my story.” In Haifa, a woman in her 20s told him: “I understand my parents better now.” Still, he doubts how much difference one play can make towards unravelling this bitter conflict. “I have to believe it does affect people,” he says. “On the other level, I’m not daft. I know I can’t change the reality. I can’t make a show and tomorrow everyone will walk hand-in-hand.”
I am Yusuf and This Is My Brother Young Vic, London SE1 Starts 19 Jan Until 6 Feb Box office: 020-7922 2922 Venue website
Original article was posted here.
By Abdullah H. Erakat, Ramallah
Yasmin Qadmany’s parents did not want her to study acting. In fact, they tried to prevent the 26-year-old engineer from doing so, to the extent that when she told them she was going to follow her heart, they stopped talking to her. That was three years ago, and next year she will graduate. But before she does, she and fellow thespians at the Drama Academy in Ramallah will put on a production of “Romeo & Juliet.”
“I faced difficulties. But I overcame it because I saw it as a challenge,” says Qadmany noting that her relation with her family is now better than ever. Qadmany is gearing up for another challenge in late November: a two-week workshop taught by the all-female company, the Manhattan Shakespeare Project.
Sarah Eismann, the founding artistic director of the Manhattan Shakespeare project says the project came about last year after she performed in an international production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Folkwang University of the arts in Germany. Students from Palestine’s Drama academy also made up the cast.
“They were just incredible artists, as well as passionate, courageous and really wonderful people. So when their director asked if I wanted to work with them again, I was like yeah, of course, I would love to,” she adds.
The Drama Academy managing director Petra Bargouthi says the workshop, (English with Arabic translation), is an excellent way to prepare her students for next year’s Shakespeare festival in Germany.
“Language is the most important character when it comes to Shakespeare. It’s a game of language, so this will be very helpful for our students to understand and discover the poetry in Shakespeare,” explained Bargouthi – also a movement therapy instructor – in an interview with Variety Arabia,
The academy, the first of its kind acting school in Palestine, is located in downtown Ramallah and is hosted by Al-Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque.
Teaching artist Jensen Olaya says she hopes that she and her colleague Eismann will contribute to the “already rich curriculum” of the Academy.
Olaya explained that the sessions will be recorded by film documenter Lena Rudnick: “I feel that Shakespeare is a widely used tool to teach theatre and performance. I feel like his themes are universal on the smallest, most intimate level and I hope that the universal themes can help us connect past cultural and political divides,” she wrote in an email to Variety Arabia.
It’s not only her first trip to the Palestine, but to the Middle East. While she says there are people in Ramallah who have already welcomed her, Olaya says she still cannot quite comprehend that she is actually going and does not know what to expect.
“We have received support – both financial support and moral support – from people in the US and I feel like I have a lot of people who are hoping that I go out there and return with wonderful stories to share about Ramallah and its’ people,” Olaya adds.
“It’s a little scary,” says second-year acting student Rabee Hanani, who has mostly been educated in Germany, but his feelings are more of curiosity than fear.
“By being exposed to different cultures from different countries in the world, we gain more,” he said.
Third-year Drama Academy student Jihad Al Khateeb says he hopes this workshop will make him a better actor, not only in performing Shakespeare, but in general.
“I think the most important thing is how to do Shakespeare the way he intended for us to do it,” says the 24-year old.
Leaving Ramallah, Olaya and Eismann will head north to Jenin’s Freedom Theatre, where they will carry out the same thing.
The venue made the news headlines in April 2011, when its co-founder Juliano Mer Khamis was murdered in broad daylight by unknown men on the steps of the theatre.
Managing director Jonatan Stanczak said the incident caused some students to drop out of the student theatre acting school, but things are now back on track.
Currently, British director Diane Trevis, the first woman to work with the Royal Shakespeare theatre, is conducting a workshop there.
“I am aware that Shakespeare is a very important component of any actor’s development. It’s a great opportunity for us to have one of the best Shakespeare troupes in the world working with our students,” adds Stanczak, who is a nurse by profession.
“We believe culture is the glue that keeps everything together and it is also the process that allows Palestinian society to form itself around ideas,” he said.
“Most of the people who come to Palestine and do the workshop become more aware of the Palestinian life and Palestinian humanity,” says Bargouthi. “I hope this will be a way of knowing us and understanding us and also for our students to see how people perceive them.”
“I merely want to connect as an artist on a human level: person-to-person, overcoming political barriers,” said Olaya.
Eismann says the Manhattan Shakespeare project is simply excited because it is their first venture into creating international relationships.
“We’re not there to make a political statement. We’re just there to create theatre, and to create art,” she concluded.
The story was originally published in Variety Arabia November issue.
Details Published on Monday, 05 November 2012 08:46
Thirsting for Justice Campaign said in a press release that during November 2012, the Ride for Water Justice! is taking place in communities impacted by Israel’s illegal appropriations of Palestinian water resources.
The Ride includes guided walks, Playback Theatre performances, and community discussions about water apartheid and the broader struggle for freedom and justice in occupied Palestine. Audience members share autobiographical accounts and watch as a team of actors and musicians instantly transform these accounts into improvised theatre pieces. Playback Theatre provides opportunity for education, advocacy and community building.
The Ride started on Friday, November 2, in the village of Faquaa (in the Jenin district), one of many Palestinian communities impacted by Israel’s illegal appropriations of Palestinian water resources.
In the next Fridays, Palestinian and international activists, students, journalists, artists and the wider public are invited to join any or all of the Ride for Water Justice events:
November 9th: Attuwani, South Hebron Hills
November 16th: Al Hadidiya, Jordan Valley
November 23rd: Gaza via Video Conference
This four time event is organized by the Freedom Bus and EWASH’s West Bank local partner Juzoor.
The Freedom Bus is an initiative of The Freedom Theatre that uses interactive theatre and cultural activism to bear witness, raise awareness and build alliances throughout occupied Palestine and beyond.
Juzoor for Health and Social Development is a Palestinian non-governmental organization based in Jerusalem working at the national level, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Palestinian families and promoting health as a basic human right.
The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH) is a coalition of almost 30 organisations working in the water and sanitation sector in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Freedom Theatre: http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/
Thirsting for Justice Campaign: http://www.thirstingforjustice.org/new
For further information about the event, visit
A play that explores the lives of ordinary people living in the besieged Gaza strip in the winter of 2008. Jomana, a woman from the Shati refugee camp, falls in love with Rami, an American Palestinian doctor who arrives as part of the Free Gaza Flotilla. Breaking the siege sparks their love – but can it be sustained?
To book online go to http://www.trybooking.com/BZDI
Tales of a City by the Sea is a unique and poetic journey into the lives of ordinary people in the besieged Gaza strip prior to, during and after its bombardment in the winter of 2008.
Jomana, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Shati (beach) refugee camp in Gaza falls in love with Rami, an American born Palestinian doctor and activist who comes on the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Their love is met with many challenges forcing Rami to make incredible decisions the least of which is to take a dangerous journey through the underground tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt.
Although on the surface this love story appears to explore the relationship between diaspora Palestinians and Palestinians under occupation, there is a broader and more universal theme that emerges – one of human survival and tenacity.
Tales of a City by the Sea avoids political pitfalls, ideological agendas and clichés by focusing on the human story of the people in Gaza. Although the play’s characters are fictional, the script is based on real life events and is a product of a collection of real stories the author Samah Sabawi and her family have experienced during the events of the past several years. Sabawi has written most of the poetry in the play during the three-week bombardment of Gaza in 2008/2009.
Creative Producer: Rand Hazou
Rand Hazou was born in Jordan. His family are from Jerusalem. Rand is an Australian/Palestinian academic and theatre facilitator. In 2004 Rand was commissioned by the UNDP to travel to the Occupied Territories in Palestine to work as a theatre consultant running workshops for Palestinian youths. In 2009 Rand was awarded a PhD in Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University. His thesis examined the latest wave of political theatre in Australia dealing with Asylum Seekers and Refugees. In 2011 Rand was awarded a Cultural Leadership Skills Development Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to develop The 7arakat|Harakat Project, involving a series of theatre-related initiatives between Australia and Palestine. As part of this grant, Rand travelled to Palestine in October 2011 to participate in an internship with Al-Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah. Rand is currently undertaking an internship with Multicultural Arts Victoria. As an academic he has taught across a wide variety of subject at La Trobe and Monash Universities. He is currently a lecturer and tutor in the theatre and drama program at La Trobe University. For more information on the 7arakat project visit http://www.centreforcreativearts.org.au/projectspace/7arakat.phps
Osamah Sami is an actor and writer of Iraqi heritage. Born in 1983 in Iran – he migrated to Australia in 1995. Osamah has worked extensively on stage, including playing the role of Saddam Hussain in “Saddam: The Musical”, as well as other productions, including Sinners (La Mamma), Homebody/Kabul (Theatre@Risk), Long Day’s Dying (La Mamma), Baghdad Wedding (Belvoir St.), Blackbox 149 (La Mamma)…His TV roles include East West 101 (SBS), City Homicide (Seven), Rush (Ten), Sea Patrol (Nine), series regular in the 13-part series Kick (SBS), the lead role in Tony Ayres’ award winning tele-movie Saved opposite Claudia Karvan, the lead in Dee McLachlan’s feature film “10 Terrorists” and the award winning short 296 Smith Street as well as the feature film Lucky Miles. He is currently working on a feature film with director Tony Ayres “Ali’s Wedding” which he has co-written with Andrew Knight.
Since graduating from Flinders University Drama Centre, Veronica has had a very diverse and dynamic acting career in Theatre, Film, Television and Role Playing/Training across many arenas from mainstream theatre and television to educational and political theatre, script development and corporate work. Her credits include: The Grace of Mary Traverse, Six Characters in Search of An Author, Stories from the Underground; A Translation in History, Twelfth Night, The Jungle of Cities, 10 x10 play series, Meat Pies and Mortadella, Nile Blue, GP, Water Rats, Heart Break High, Murder Call, Blue Heelers, Satisfaction, Whatever Happened To That Guy and Neighbours.
Hannah Norris is a widely acclaimed actress of the independent and professional stages of Australia. She is perhaps best known for her powerful performance of the one-woman show My Name is Rachel Corrie (Daniel Clarke) in Melbourne and Adelaide, receiving Adelaide Critics Circle and Victorian Green Room Award nominations, and the 2010 ATG ‘Curtain Call’ Award for Best Female Performance. Hannah has recently returned to Melbourne from a national tour of David Williamson’s Let the Sunshine (Hit Productions) and is currently working on a 2013 production of Tahli Corin’s One for the Ugly Girls. For more info, go to www.hannahnorris.com.au
Wahibe Moussa is a performance-maker, writer and Green-Room award winning actor, currently studying in the Master of Writing for Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has gained respect as a Cultural/Language Consultant through Theatre and television projects. Wahibe’s writing practice is informed by her work with diverse Refugee and Indigenous communities, and her interest in connections between the personal and political; the exchange of power within relationships. As a Community Artist, Wahibe works collaboratively in Theatre, Visual Art and Writing Projects in Melbourne and Sydney.
Jomana Najem has a background in Film Production and literary journalism, and has been extensively involved with the Arabic speaking community for the last ten years in various capacities. Jomana has also written, directed and produced several short films and documentaries. She has worked both behind and in front of the camera as an actor and television presenter. She has is the writer of a feature length film script that centres around the lives of several Lebanese Australians, and their struggles to overcome their past. “The Borrowed Prophet” is currently in pre-production and has been endorsed by the Lebanese and wider Arabic speaking community.
Majid Shokor is a writer, researcher, and actor for stage and screen. Originally from Baghdad, he lives and works in Melbourne. Since his arrival in Australia in 2001, he has appeared in many plays, short films, TV series and the feature film Lucky Miles, for which he was also the cultural consultant. He worked with many acclaimed directors and writers such as Jean-Pierre Mignon, Daniel Keen and Nigel Jamieson to name few. His performances have received critical acclaim and been honoured with two prestigious Green Room Award nominations for Best Actor in Independent Theatre, in 2005 and 2009. Majid holds a Master degree (Honours) and a Post-Graduate Diploma (1st class Honours) in Community Cultural Development from the Victorian College of the Arts – Melbourne University
Ryan is a second year student and is currently studying arts at La Trobe University. He has been involved in many highly successful productions in their student theatre program. He has also been highly involved in amateur theatre companies in his home town. He has a large background in musical theatre. This is Ryan’s first production outside of his university and local area.
Beth Sherwell – lighting and sound
Beth is no stranger to the world of theatre, television and drama; having worked on the TV show Neighbours as well as various other films. Most recently she played the character of Amy March (the youngest sister) in the production ‘Little Women’. ‘Tales of a City by the Sea’ is Beth’s first technical gig, she is currently completing a degree in English and Drama Majors.
James Crafti – lighting and sound
James Crafti is co-manager of Under the Hammer an Activist Artists Hub in Coburg a place he founded to explore art within a social justice framework. Crafti completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts at La Trobe in 2009 and directed plays at La Trobe including Creationism, Rope and Seven Jewish Children. In 2010 James worked as an assistant director on Melbourne Worker’s Theatre’s show Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime. Crafti also directed two plays with Platform Youth Theatre Mutha and The Deserters, and is now serving on Platform’s Board. He is currently undertaking his Masters in Community Cultural Development at the Victorian College of the Arts.