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The drama of displacement: the journey of a Syrian refugee through theatre | LSE Festival

Hosted by LSE Festival: Power and Politics

Shaw Library, Old Building


Dr Nesrin Alrefaai

Professor Matthew Spangler


Professor Michael Mason

Professor Michael Mason

Join us for a staged reading of scenes from a new play by Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler, who have collaborated to dramatise the politics and human effects of forced migration. Focusing on the interaction between a Syrian refugee and a state official, we explore how theatre plays a role in addressing life experiences during political upheaval.  

The play delves into the lives of two women, a Syrian refugee and a Home Office officer, both grappling with personal tragedies and the trials of their lives in the backdrop of the UK. Their stories are intertwined, highlighting issues of immigration, resilience, and determination that transcend cultural and social barriers. 

Following the reading, the speakers will lead discussion on the performance, providing wider insights into how theatre can help us understand the effects of politics and power on those seeking refuge. 

Meet our speakers and chair

Nesrin Alrefaai is Visiting Fellow and Arabic Content Editor in the Middle East Centre (MEC) at LSE. She oversees reviewing, liaising with authors and referees, editing submissions, as well as translating MEC papers from English into Arabic. She holds a doctorate degree in Drama and Theatre Education from the University of Warwick, UK. Her most recent play The Beekeeper of Aleppo with co-playwright Matthew Spangler made its debut at the Nottingham Playhouse in March 2023 and subsequently toured across the UK.

Matthew Spangler (@spanglerSF) is Professor of Performance Studies and Chair of the Department of Film, Theatre, and Dance at San José State University in California where he teaches courses in how refugees and asylum-seekers are represented through the arts. His plays have been produced on Broadway, in the West End and at many theatres around the world. Plays include: The Kite Runner from the novel by Khaled Hosseini; The Beekeeper of Aleppo with co-playwright Nesrin Alrefaai and many more. 

Michael Mason is Director of the Middle East Centre and Professor of Environmental Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE. He is interested in ecological politics and governance as applied to questions of accountability, security and sovereignty. His research addresses both global environmental politics and regional environmental change in Western Asia/the Middle East. 

More about this event

This event is part of the LSE Festival: Power and Politics running from Monday 10 to Saturday 15 June 2024, with a series of events exploring how power and politics shape our world. Booking for all Festival events will open on Monday 13 May.  

The LSE Middle East Centre (@LSEMiddleEast) provides a central hub for the wide range of research on the Middle East and North Africa carried out at LSE.

Hashtag for this event: #LSEFestival

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event. 

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This event is part of the LSE Festival: Power and Politics. The event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. The event will be in-person only. 

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