Learn, lead, heal and thrive
through theatre and play
Seenaryo is a leading specialist in theatre and play-based learning with under-served communities in Lebanon and Jordan. We use theatre and play to transform education and support people to learn, lead, heal and thrive in their classrooms and communities. Having reached over 100,000 children, youth, women and teachers since 2015, Seenaryo was one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s 120 Global Innovators, has lectured for New York University on their Teacher Fellowship, and has been featured in Al Jazeera and Prospect Magazine.
Seenaryo in 2022
Seenaryo unleashes the power of theatre to support communities in Lebanon and Jordan to learn, lead, heal and thrive. Watch our 2022 video to learn more about our work
Seenaryo tours to Germany
Meet the cast of ‘I see my ghost coming from afar’ during Seenaryo’s first international tour. They travelled to Germany to take part in BDAT’s Theaterwelten festival.
2022 Impact Report
In 2022, Seenaryo created 39 original theatre productions and reached 17,223 people through our theatre and training programmes. Read all about our impact here.
A Children’s Book for Christmas
We are over the moon to present our bilingual children’s book, The Queendom of Colours, illustrated by Syrian artist Ammar Khattab.
Emerald and Indigo live in a refugee camp in the Queendom of Colours. When the Queendom loses its colour, who will bring it back?
An adaptation of the very first Seenaryo show written by children in Jordan, The Queendom of Colours is a story of friendship, exile and forgiveness. All profits from the book will go towards Seenaryo’s theatre and training projects with marginalised communities in Lebanon and Jordan.
people to date
children reached through the Seenaryo Playkit
teachers trained to use play in the classroom
original theatre productions created to date
at all levels including the way in which we run workshops, work with partners and train teachers – allowing all voices to be heard
that use science and research to inform our programme content, rollout and monitoring and evaluation strategy
Deep rootedness in local contexts & partnerships
working with and for communities for the long term
Agility & innovation
in our use of technology, our approach to teaching and learning, and our responses to the changing needs of participants
Accessibility & inclusivity
in terms of creating spaces and resources that actively engage and amplify traditionally excluded groups
Effective women's participation
at all levels, including organisational structure as well as programme design and delivery
The intrinsic value of artistic excellence
beyond its use as a tool for social impact
Through theatre and play, we support under-served communities in Lebanon and Jordan to find their voices as powerful agents of change
- Facilitate skills development by supporting individuals to build social skills, life skills, critical thinking and wellbeing
- Foster social cohesion by bringing conflict-affected communities in dialogue with each other
- Create wider and alternative employment pathways and professional capacity within classrooms and communities
- Transform teaching and learning to become child-centred, engaging and inclusive
- Advocate globally for play-based learning and participatory theatre in the Arab region
Lebanon and Jordan are among the countries hosting the most refugees per capita worldwide: 1 in 4 people in Lebanon, and 1 in 12 in Jordan. Half of these refugees are children according to UNHCR.
Moreover, these countries’ native populations are increasingly vulnerable due to the recession in the wake of Covid-19, donor fatigue around the Syrian crisis and an unprecedented economic crisis in Lebanon (one of the world’s worst since the 1850s according to the World Bank).
Lebanon has seen two successive governments collapse since anti-government protests began in October 2019, and the Beirut explosion in August destroyed much of the country’s capital.
This economic and political fragility damages already frail education systems in both countries, from NGO emergency education to public schools to private schools.
Children from vulnerable communities in Lebanon and Jordan suffer from high levels of toxic stress, which ‘disrupts the architecture of the developing brain’ (US National Scientific Council on the Developing Child). 59% of school-aged refugees in Lebanon and nearly a third of all children in Jordan are not in school.
The MENA region has the world’s highest youth unemployment rate; and Lebanon and Jordan face unprecedented brain drain. Youth lack access to quality employment or training opportunities. Many reach adulthood without having the opportunity to develop social and emotional skills and critical thinking, let alone professional capacities.
According to the Gender Gap Index 2020, Lebanon and Jordan are respectively 145th and 138th of 153 countries. The labour force participation rate for women is 26% in Lebanon and only 15% in Jordan. They are also affected by social and political marginalisation and an increase in sexual and gender-based violence.
The Lebanese and Jordanian Ministries of Education find they have an ‘unskilled teaching force’ (Jordan Response Plan), blaming out-dated pedagogy, ‘not as learner-centred as industry standards require, lacking a life-skills base’ (Lebanon Crisis Response Plan).
What we do
We work with children, youth and women, facilitating the creation of original and high quality theatre, in which participants create their own stories. While making theatre, we are continuously training up facilitators, trainees and youth leaders to lead the work themselves.
We’ve developed a bank of resources and training for early years teachers, supporting them to deliver their curriculum through child-centred and play-based methods. This includes the Seenaryo Playkit phone app, as well as distance learning initiatives supporting parents and teachers during Covid-19.
A few words from
Oscar-nominated Jessie Buckley
Meet our participants
Commitment to the
UN Sustainable Development Goals
We aim for Seenaryo’s goals to align with sector-wide and international goals for sustainable development (SDGs). Seenaryo’s programmes particularly focus on the below SDGs set by the United Nations.
Substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
Decent work & economic growth
Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation
Empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
Peace, justice and strong institutions
Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
“I’ve learnt to be ambitious for my children, for them to have more than just a traditional education, to do things that will expand their horizons”
MOTHER OF A PARTICIPANT
“I stopped being stuck with my daily chores – cleaning, cooking, looking after the children. The Seenaryo team allowed us to forget our difficulties and have hope that there is a tomorrow.”
SEENARYO STUDIO PARTICIPANT
“It has been a very difficult journey to be honest, but extremely rewarding. I realised that I am capable of looking after my children and providing them with the best education they need.”
I LEARN FROM HOME PARENT
Theatre reflects life
The participatory approach to theatre-making that Seenaryo has developed over five years puts participants at the heart of the process, giving them the responsibility and agency to create and write the play that they will perform.
Whether their plays are about real life or volcanoes and dinosaurs, the participants’ own stories are always present. The opportunity to mask their experiences in fairytale and fiction allow participants to express something they otherwise felt unable to express, and confront their feelings safely.
In the Middle
In this Seenaryo Studio show: a group of women decide to quit their troubles and fly to the moon. Ending up lost in space, they have to decide whether to stay where they are, return to Earth, or push on to the Moon. Theatre reflects life: in the face of hyperinflation, the economic collapse, and Covid-19 the majority of people living in Lebanon are looking for a way out.
The Village of Mujadara
In this Seenaryo Cycle show: the story, devised by Palestinian children, is about two wizards’ struggle for acceptance in a corrupt and polluted village. The parallels to the life of a Palestinian in Lebanon are clear.
Together, We Beat the Monster
In this Seenaryo Showbuild: monsters destroy all the homes in a city, so the citizens band together to rebuild. The story here is an unmistakable metaphor for the situation following the Beirut explosion.
“Seenaryo makes you feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… and it’s you!”
Farah started as a participant with Seenaryo in 2015. She was 13 years old, playing the role of a genie in Careful What You Wish For. Over the last five years she has created and performed six shows with us including two Studio productions which toured nationally. In recent years she has also been training as a facilitator with Seenaryo and has now co-led a Cycle project and assistant directed a Seenaryo Studio production. Handing over the baton to the communities we work with has been Seenaryo’s ambition since inception, and it’s exciting to see this happen with Farah, who grew up in Shatila refugee camp.
“My leadership skills have been really enhanced by this project. I’ve become more confident, and more focused on what I want to do in life,” says Farah.
2022 foundations & institutional supporters
The Arthur and Holly Magill Foundation, The Asfari Foundation, The University of Bath, Bath Spa University, The British & Foreign School Society, Caritas Austria, Caritas Jordan, Caritas Lebanon, Caritas Syria, CFLI Lebanon, CFLI Syria, GIZ/ZFD Civil Peace Service, The Galashan Trust, Goethe-Institut Libanon, Center for International Cultural Education of the Goethe-Institut Schwäbisch Hall, The Haas Family Giving Fund, Institut Français du Liban, Jordan Kuwait Bank, The Linbury Trust, Nommontu Foundation, Pikasso Jordan, Rebecca Dykes Foundation, The Roger and Ingrid Pilkington Charitable Trust, The Schroder Foundation, Siren Associates, The Archie Lloyd Charitable Foundation, UK Aid from the UK Government, Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, Zinc Network
2022 partners, collaborators & clients
Abnaa’ Saida, Ain Jarfa School, Ain Qenia Public School, Al Ara’ek Kindergarten, Al Mutamazimoon Sighar Kindergarten, Al-Harah Theater, Al-Rubie School, Al-Shomos School, Angelica Saliba School, Arab Episcopal School Irbid, Atfal Al Somoud, AVSI, Back to the Future (implemented by AVSI, War Child Holland in Lebanon and Terre des Hommes Italy in Lebanon), Baraem Tarbyeh Islamyeh School, Barbican Centre, Bischop & Ahliyyah Kindergarten Al Huson, Bizret Kheir, Bund Deutscher Amateurtheater (BDAT), Caritas Jordan, Collateral Repair Project, College Oriental Zahlé, Commission of the South in the National Scouts, Dammeh, Dar Al Aytam Al Islamiya, Dar Al Hanan, Development for People and Nature Association, Fabrika, Family Flavours, Future High School, Gharsa, Greek Catholic Kindergarten Al Huson, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Kindergarten Al Huson, Haroun Al Rasheed School, Hasbani Municipality Union, Hasbaya Public School for Girls, Haya Cultural Centre, Himaya, Humanity & Inclusion, Irfan School, Ishbilia Theatre, Islah Intermediate School, Jami’et Souf for Social Development, Jazireh Alnoor Kindergarten, Jesuit Center Amman, Kfeir Public School, Latin Patriarchate School and Kindergarten Al Huson, Lebanese American University, Lebanese Modern School, Lo’lo’a Al-Jeel School, Maarouf Saad School, Majdal Anjar Municipality, Military Culture Schools, Ministry of Education in Jordan, Monot Theater, Mubas Kindergarten, Nasa’em Al-Amal Kindergarten, National High School, Omani School, Qudurat Centre, Questscope, Rosary College School – Shmeisani, Ruwwad, Saida Intermediate School, Saida Orphanage Welfare, Sama Al Badea, Sama Al Alia School, Sarmada, Sawiyan, Siq Center, Sunflower Theatre, Theatrewelten, UN Women, Women Now for Development, WonderEight, World Vision, Yaabad Scout Troupe