Masharaka Participation

Youth & Children’s Theatre

Our weekly Youth & Children’s Theatre gives refugees and host communities a platform to find their own voice. At the end of each term, participants perform an original show that they have devised and developed themselves. We currently run one Youth & one Children’s Theatre in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in partnership with Women Now (funded by The Linbury Trust), two Children’s Theatres at Don Bosco School in Qartaba in partnership with Caritas Lebanon, and will soon be launching Youth & Children’s Theatre programmes in Amman, Jordan with the Citadel community.

My parents told me that I’m much stronger now. They’re not worried about me any more.
Children's Theatre participant (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

Aswat Seenaryo Choir

‘Aswat Seenaryo’ means Seenaryo Voices. ‘Aswat’ represents our participants’ singing voices but, just as importantly, their voices as artists and young people with something to say. Our choir sings high-quality music from around the world, developing participants’ musical horizons, as well as writing songs collaboratively as a choir. Aswat Seenaryo also collaborates with choirs in the UK, increasing cultural exchange and mutual understanding. We perform around Lebanon to local audiences, other refugee groups and at high-profile concerts and festivals. Delivered in partnership with Women Now.

Aswat Seenaryo made me appreciate my country, Syria
Aswat Seenaryo participant

Showbuilds

During the holidays Seenaryo run weeklong intensive projects where our artists collaborate with participants to create an original piece of theatre. Every aspect of the show is devised from scratch: script, songs, dances and design. The performance is shared with friends and the public on the final evening. As with all of Seenaryo’s work, training is a central aspect and we work alongside four young trainees each week. Many Showbuilds continue to live after their debut being re-worked, re-rehearsed and toured locally by our trainees.

To date Seenaryo has delivered nine Showbuilds with different partners: Women Now, Yaabad Scout Troupe and Beirut Art Center. Showbuilds are currently funded by The Linbury Trust, and have previously been funded by Ettijahat-Independent Culture (within the framework of Create Syria), A.M. Qattan Foundation (within the framework of Selat: Links Through the Arts), Beirut Art Center, and European Cultural Foundation.

It has been a great experience and it helped me to tell the truth - in a funny way because that's the best way to reach people
Showbuild participant (Shatila camp, Lebanon)

Women’s Theatre

In Autumn of 2017 Seenaryo launched it’s first Women’s Theatre programme for Syrian women in the Bekaa Valley. Nine women between the ages of 16 and 42 came together to work on a devising process led by Farah Wardani, a theatre director identified by Seenaryo. Together they created Souriyeh, a theatre piece about love, death, hope, imprisonment, and success in the time of war. The themes of the play were very much inspired by the women’s own experience of living through war and migration before finding refuge in Lebanon. Delivered in partnership with Women Now.

Seenaryo is currently developing plans for a new Women’s Theatre project involving digital exchange with a London based women’s refugee group. This will be delivered in partnership with Women Now and Women for Refugee Women in collaboration with the Southbank Centre.

I’ve changed a lot. I’ve become more self-confident and can now face any problem. I discovered I am more capable than I thought and appreciate myself. When I stepped onstage I realised how powerful theatre is as a space to express everything inside us.
Women's Theatre participant (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

Cultural Trips

For their public exhibitions, Beirut Art Center (BAC) offer guided tours and accompanying arts workshops for groups of Seenaryo participants living in the Bekaa Valley. BAC is a non-profit space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lebanon. An unprecedented initiative in Beirut, the center makes art accessible to a large and growing audience of residents and visitors alike. Participants get a chance to engage with a rich and diverse range of contemporary art and cultural practice, as well as develop skills in a visual art form. In 2017 a number of the trips formed part of BAC’s initiative Let’s Talk About Art with the goal of bringing together Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese participants. Delivered in partnership with Beirut Art Center and Women Now.

Previously, with support from Ettijahat-Independent Culture, within the framework of Create Syria – Seenaryo has also taken children to exhibitions and theatre productions at Basma w Zeitouneh, Marfa’ and Sursock Museum.

I learnt that women can do anything
Cultural Trip participant

Maktabat Seenaryo

Maktabat Seenaryo (Seenaryo’s Library) is a lending library for refugees in Lebanon. There is an urgent need for quality children’s books to help refugees learn English – a key skill for building bridges with host communities and employment later in life. Seenaryo has collected hundreds of children’s books from generous individuals around the world. These are currently held by our partners Sawa for Development & Aid who lend them out to children in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley on our behalf.

Tadreeb Training

Kindergarten Playkit

Our Kindergarten Playkit is an ambitious new resource for kindergarten teachers, offering them songs, games, and immersive stories directly linked to the kindergarten curriculum. In 2017, after conducting a thorough needs analysis, Seenaryo developed the resource as a book and piloted it via teacher trainings with the International Rescue CommitteeCaritas Lebanon and Ana Aqra.

Seenaryo are now in the process of developing a mobile app or website with WonderEight that will hold all of the songs, games and stories in Arabic, English and French. This will allow the resource to be accessible to teachers across the Arab region and enable us to keep adding new material for teachers. Across 2018-19, the app or website (with accompanying training) will be rolled out across Lebanon & Jordan in emergency refugee schools as well as public schools.

I taught early childhood education for eight years before becoming an Officer, and I have never seen anything quite like this training
Maysa, Senior Education Officer at IRC

Young Facilitators

Seenaryo trains young adults in how to lead a theatre process with children. Trainees first go through their own devising process and develop a show to understand what it means to be a participant; they then learn practical tools in applied arts, leadership, and broader pedagogy. Young facilitators eventually tour their devised show and lead their own post-show workshops supported by Seenaryo staff.

In 2017 this programme was funded by Asfari Foundation and delivered in partnership with Women Now. In early 2018, this programme was funded by Team Archie, and led by Theatre Director Chrystele Khodr and Trainer Hadi Deaibess. The 2018 group toured their performance of Shajarat Al Durr to the Bekaa Valley, Saida, and Shatila in Beirut; and chose to form their own theatre company, Nabad (meaning ‘pulse’). In Autumn 2018, with support from the second edition of Create Syria (a programme by Ettijahat-Independent Culture in partnership with the British Council), as well as further funding from Team Archie, Seenaryo and Nabad will develop Shajarat Al Durr to extend it’s reach to new communities in Lebanon and further develop the trainees’ skills as facilitators.

I’ve learnt to work towards learning objectives through activities and games
Young Facilitator, 2017 cycle

Young Artists

Young Artists is Seenaryo’s artist mentorship programme led by the Lebanese research and performance collective, Dictaphone Group. To date we have worked with eleven artists and supported them in developing twelve artistic projects in the mediums of film, photography, sound, and painting – alongside mentorship in research, project proposal writing, and budgeting. The artists were also given the opportunity to visit and attend workshops with several arts organisations including Beirut Art Center, Ashkal Alwan, Mansion, Arab Puppet Theatre, Sursock Museum, Zoukak, Marfa Gallery, Dar El Nimer, Dar El Mussawir, Studio Damj and Dawawine.

In February 2017, six artists exhibited their projects in a showcase called The Scene From The Bekaa at Mansion, Beirut. In July 2017 The Scene From The Bekaa was then exhibited in the UK as part of Kent Refugee Help’s I Live Here exhibition. Canterbury audiences responded overwhelmingly positively to the work: many photographs and paintings were sold, with proceeds going directly to refugee families. In April 2018, six artists exhibited their projects in a showcase called Chtaura-Hammana-Beirut: A Discovery Journey. Seenaryo is currently looking for further opportunities to exhibit the twelve art works, both in Lebanon and abroad, as part of our Advocacy strand.

In 2016-17 Young Artists was funded by Ettijahat-Independent Culture within the framework of Create Syria. In 2018 it was funded by the Arthur & Holly Magill Foundation. Young Artists is delivered in partnership with Dictaphone Group and Women Now, with thanks to Mansion, Hammana Artist House and Saveur Plus Catering.

I've gained confidence in being an artist, expanded my experience in filming, and have a wider idea about art from the trips we took
Young Artist

Creative Toolkit

Creative Toolkit is a one-off workshop for an entire school’s staff, introducing them to theatre games and exercises in a classroom context. In two and a half hours, we take teachers through a whirlwind of activities that can be adapted to fit their curriculum needs. In 2017 Seenaryo delivered the training to seven schools via the NGOs Sawa for Development & Aid, Kayany Foundation, Gharsah, and Jusoor. This was funded by the Asfari Foundation and delivered in partnership with Women Now.

My class made a story, and acted it out using your tableaux exercise. I made this story the basis of their creative writing exercise. Their writing was so much better than normal, and it generated so many more ideas! Children who normally only write a few lines wrote an entire page.
Teacher, Kayany School

Applying Theatre

Applying Theatre is a six-week programme that trains schoolteachers in theatre devising. It culminates in teachers creating their own performance with their class. Seenaryo supports teachers in creating original music for the show, with lyrics written by the children themselves. In 2017 Seenaryo delivered this programme to ten schools via the NGOs Sawa for Development & Aid, Kayany FoundationJusoor, Jesuit Refugee Service and Dammeh. This was funded by the Asfari Foundation and delivered in partnership with Women Now.

Seenaryo taught me how to differentiate for students of all abilities with these activities
Teacher, Sawa School

Creative English

Our Creative English workshops (for children and adults) allow participants to develop confidence in speaking within an enjoyable and relaxed environment. Participants improve vocabulary, listening and speaking skills in real-life and role-play situations. Creative English celebrates English as a language for enjoyment and practical use, whilst still allowing participants to benefit from lesson-based practice.

Seenaryo previously ran these workshops in partnership with Women Now as part of our Participation strand. Having seen their impact, we are taking a break from delivering the work directly and are in the early stages of developing a digital resource and training programme so that other schools and NGOs can benefit from the practice.

It has made a huge difference in my life coming here. The teaching quality is different to anywhere else.
Creative English adult participant (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

Munasara Advocacy

Party With Seenaryo

Party With Seenaryo is a unique cross-cultural experience where people from around the globe get the opportunity to party with Syrians & Palestinians in Lebanon via a video livestream. The aim of these parties is to bring together music lovers from different sides of the world, and also challenge audiences locally and internationally to reassess cultural assumptions about refugees, and promote international dialogue in solidarity with them.

As part of the Southbank Centre’s 2017 Meltdown Festival (curated by hip-hop star M.I.A) Seenaryo hosted a party in Riwaq Café, which featured music from local Syrian DJs YaKuzan and Zaki, and an iftar party in Shatila refugee camp with playlists curated by Palestinian young people. Both parties were livestreamed to UK partygoers at the Royal Festival Hall.

We are currently developing plans for a third party as part of the Barbican‘s 2018 annual theme: The Art of Change. Seenaryo will host this party at Fares refugee camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in partnership with Syrian Eyes, and it will be livestreamed to UK partygoers at the Barbican’s Fountain Room.