Trauma and Dialogue


In societies affected by armed conflict, dealing with the past can prevent violence and promote justice. However collective memory is often monopolised by political elites and mirrors societal inequalities. In response, citizens devise bottom-up practices to bypass and oppose hegemonic narratives.


This session explores the bottom-up practices of Laban Theatre Company, Beirut, Lebanon in collaboration with British Academy funded research project Memories from the Margins. This project provides a safe space for 12 Syrian refugee women currently living in Shatila, Beirut to explore trauma and tension through techniques such as playback theatre and drama therapy. The sessions usually explore themes led by the women such as gender-based violence, trauma, and the daily struggle of the women living in Shatila unable to return home to Syria.


During the Q&A between project collaborators Abi Weaver, Daniele Rugo and Farah Wardani some footage from the sessions will be screened.

The discussion will centre around how dialogue emerges from the theatre-based training sessions and how dialogues emerge through movement, song and spoken word. The improvisations emerging from the session are being turned into a script that will be performed by the women in 2022.

DANIELE RUGO is an award winning filmmaker, Reader in Film at Brunel University London and currently a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po. His work focuses on conflict and sustainable peace. His latest feature documentary About a War explores violence and social change through the stories of former militiamen from Lebanon's civil war. He is the author of three books and several journal articles. He is also an affiliate of the Centre for Lebanese Studies in Beirut. Daniele is currently focusing on two projects Memories from The Margins and Performing Violence, Engendering Change which explore projects that work with arts-based methods across communities affected by violence and conflict. 

FARAH WARDANI is an award-winning actress, who has pioneered the use of theatre for social change and activism in Lebanon. She is the director of Laban (a Lebanese theatre-based NGO) specialising in playback theatre, drama therapy techniques and practices of Theatre of the Oppressed. Since 2006 she has worked with over 50,000 people to provide safe spaces for them to explore their emotions and tensions. Farah’s theatre work covers a range of themes including gender-based violence, active-citizenship, peace-building, memory of the civil war, social cohesion between refugees and host communities, fighting extremism, youth-related topics, children’s rights and women's rights.