This event has passed.
  • Wednesday May 11 2016 until Thursday May 12 2016 from 03:00 pm until 05:00 pm
  • Wednesday May 18 2016 until Thursday May 19 2016 from 03:00 pm until 05:00 pm
  • Wednesday May 25 2016 from 03:00 pm until 05:00 pm
  • Roumieh Prison, Lebanon
  • Arts & Culture

Johar... Up in the air- A Theatre play in Roumieh Prison May 2016

“Johar…Up in the air”, the new play presented by inmates from Roumieh Prison, will be performed in May, inside the penitentiary. Directed by Zeina Daccache, this play is being prepared since June 2015. In 2009, she launched the first project of drama therapy in a Lebanese prison. It gave birth to the play “12 Angry Lebanese”, that the inmates performed on stage, inside Roumieh prison, the biggest prison in Lebanon. Zeina then launched another drama therapy initiative, this time in Baabda prison, where the women inmates presented the play Scheherazade in Baabda. Both projects gave birth to internationally acclaimed documentaries, that drew the attention of both official authorities and the civil society to the necessity of implementing some laws. The project of the play "Johar... Up in the air" is conducted in the framework of "The Untold Story of Forgotten Behind Bars", a project implemented by Catharsis, funded by the European Union and in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior & Municipalities and the Ministry of Justice. The project's objective revolves around the improvement of Mental Health in Lebanese prisons and a suitable legislation for mentally ill inmates and inmates sentenced to life. “Johar…Up in the air” sheds the light on inmates suffering from a mental illness and inmates sentenced to life. Both statuses have a common fate: staying in prison forever and ever. Indeed, the Lebanese penal code states that “insane” prisoners should be incarcerated in a special psychiatry unit until the appointed tribunal decides to end such incarceration upon evidence of “cured from insanity”. However, no accurate definition is provided as to what insanity entails and mental illness is usually managed not "cured". And how is it possible in the 21st century, to use the word "insane"?
From these inmates’ stories (some suffer from mental illnesses and others are sentenced to life), the new play has emerged. The inmates will tell the stories of the forgotten, through monologues and short scenes. As one of the inmates says in one scene: “my mental illness and the prison are a double punishment”. Hopefully, this new project will lead to a policy change just like Catharsis previous production 12 Angry Lebanese did, with the early release law 463/2002 (the law of the reduction of sentences that was issued in 2002 but never implemented and that the inmates claimed for loudly in 12 Angry Lebanese, and in 2009 it started being implemented).

Five performances will be held throughout May 2016 (May 11, 12, 18, 19 & 25, 2016), under the High Patronage of Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nohad Machnouk inside Roumieh prison, where a venue has been specially built for the event. Through the play, the inmates will have a new platform for expression, in light of the multiple developments within the Lebanese prisons. The inmates will use this opportunity to set a bridge that will make their voices heard by the Lebanese civil society in a constructive and artistic way.

you can contact us on 03 162 573 or 09 914 932 or for all info and reservations.