A Museum In Baghdad (Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, until 25 January 2020)

“By Hannah Khalil. A story of treasured history, desperate choices and the remarkable Gertrude Bell. In 1926, the nation of Iraq is in its infancy, and British archaeologist Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Baghdad. In 2006, Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the museum after looting during the war. Decades apart, these two women share the same goals: to create a fresh sense of unity and nationhood, to make the world anew through the museum and its treasures. But in such unstable times, questions remain. Who is the museum for? Whose culture are we preserving? And why does it matter when people are dying? Please note, this production contains smoking and flashing lights. Co-commissioned by the RSC and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.” Find out more here

Read the National Review here

Read the ArtsDesk.com Review here

London bookings Kiln Theatre here (22 April – 23 May 2020)

Who is Gertrude Bell? Find out more via Newcastle University here

London’s Theatre of The East (Dr Johnson’s House, London, 8 November 2019 – 15 February 2020)

Who is Dr Samuel Johnson? “Johnson was an English writer and critic, and one of the most famous literary figures of the 18th century. His best-known work is his ‘Dictionary of the English Language’.” Read a short bio via the BBC here

“The Arab British Centre and Dr Johnson’s House, neighbouring organisations based in Gough Square in the City of London, are delighted announce the launch of their collaborative project London’s Theatre of The East.

The project invites artists, researchers and the public to (re)examine the historical connections of the Middle East and North Africa and London, via the lens of Dr Johnson’s 1749 play, Irene, set during the fall of Constantinople.

Four artists, designers and writers – Nour Hage, Hannah Khalil, Lena Naassana and Saeida Rouass – have been commissioned to respond to the historical context and content of the play, with the support of academic advisors including Professor Jerry Brotton, author of This Orient Isle. The artists examined the period and influential encounters between London and the region from the 16th century onward, when Queen Elizabeth I first started trading with Muslim nations. Their responses will be showcased in an exhibit at Dr Johnson’s House which will be accompanied by a series of public activities including performances and workshops. Visit Dr Johnson’s House from 8 November 2019 to 15 February 2020 to explore the largely hidden histories of trade and migration, their impact on society and culture, and the subsequent ripples into the present day.” (The Arab British Centre) Find out more here

Related article: “The revival of his forgotten Ottoman play shows Dr Johnson isn’t just a dead white male” by Jerry Brotton (The Guardian, 14 November 2019)

Do you want to read the play Irene by Dr Samuel Johnson? Read the play via Project Gutenberg here

Do you know about Francis Barber, Dr Johnson’s manservant and assistant? Read the Wikipedia entry here

Events list compiled by Thushari Perera

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