Woven together from the actual experiences of people living under occupation, Tales of a City by the Sea is a journey into the lives of ordinary people in the besieged Gaza Strip. Jomana, a Palestinian woman living in a Gaza refugee camp, falls in love with Rami, an American-born Palestinian doctor and activist who has just arrived on one of the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Their love is met with a relentless string of challenges. Ultimately, Rami must decide between returning to his comfortable life in Texas and staying in Palestine with Jomana. Choosing to stay means leaving his family and career behind for a life ravaged by war, while leaving means not only losing Jomana but also ignoring the plight of the Palestinians.
“[A] nuanced exploration of the myriad ways the occupation affects Palestinians at home and abroad…This gripping play is an act of resistance that implores its audience to take heed.” ★★★ Rebecca Harkins-Cross, The Age
Tales of a City by the Sea is about what it means to leave home to create a life in more tolerable conditions, and what it means to stay. It is about relationships between parents who have chosen to leave, and children who want to return. It is about how people in diaspora see their connection to home, and how people at home see them. It is a Palestinian story, but more broadly it is a migrant story.
“A fantastically told story of two worlds colliding. An elegantly simple set […] is perfect for actors Nicole Chamoun and Osamah Sami to excel in their lead roles.” ★★★★ Harry Hughes, The Music
The play premiered in November 2014, with simultaneous productions at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne and the AlRowward Cultural and Theatre Society, in Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine. Both productions received overwhelmingly passionate responses from audiences and critics alike.
“The beautiful and passionate voice of Tayah makes the story even more touching…[This play] wondrously gives hope and prevents you from giving up on Gaza.” ★★★★ Zeynep Incir, Melbourne Arts Fashion
In 2016, we hope to remount our Australian production at the La Mama theatre in Melbourne and then take it on tour to Adelaide, Sydney, Hobart, Casula and Byron Bay.
Why Support This
Tales of the City by the Sea tells the story of people in terrible situations, living under occupation but it doesn’t define them by their suffering This is not the kind of story set in Palestine that you hear in the typical every day news reports — we hope to challenge this by telling a story that is not just about the conflict but the experiences of the people who live in and around it.
We believe that sharing Palestinian stories represents a key step towards peaceful and just resolution to the conflict and that a view into the realities of life under occupation has the power to change hearts and minds and that is why we feel it is important that this story is told.
Tales of the City by the Sea will feature a diverse cast and crew and help realize our hopes to see the diversity of Australia represented on the Australian stage. Our cast and creative team include both recently arrived migrants and multigenerational Australians. We have roots in Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Poland, Malta, Italy, Egypt, and Chile.
Funding is the greatest challenge faced by this project, which is why we are asking for your support.
The premiere last year was a co-share, this time, we want to be able to properly remunerate actors and artists involved in bringing this story to the stage. Your contributions go towards supporting a production that deeply values and wants to support its artists.
How the funds will be used
We already have lots of wonderful in kind support such as accommodation but we are committed to paying our artists proper wages. We will also need to cover production costs for set and costume design, transport for equipment and cost of travel for the cast and crew.
Raising this money will allow us to commit to the first leg of the Australian tour which means remounting in Melbourne with our artists on full wages regardless of money raised through tickets. That means any revenue raised through tickets will go on to support next leg of tour.
So, let’s kick off our fundraising drive with this exciting event. Please join us on the rooftop of the Arcadia Hotel and help bring Tales of a City by the Sea to six Australian cities in 2016. Enjoy a BBQ, experience live Arabic music, watch some amazing performances, meet the cast and crew, and dance the night away!