Create, collaborate & catalyse change
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. Reaching over 110,000 children, youth and women since 2015, Seenaryo is winner of the Arts, Culture & Heritage prize at the 2023 UK Charity Awards, has received a 2023 Innovation Award from TheirWorld and was one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s 120 Global Innovators. 

NEW PUBLICATION
Women Leading Theatre for Change

Our new guide aims to serve as a roadmap for practitioners and organisations seeking to use participatory theatre to equip women with the skills to become leaders and peacebuilders in their communities.

The world of theatre is unique. My reality, dreams and imagination blend into one space.

FATIMA, PARTICIPANT

We hope the guide will spark conversations, ignite creativity and pave new, inclusive and playful pathways for social change.

Read now

  • Seenaryo blog for The Ensemble

    Our Head of Arts Lama Amine has written a blog for The Ensemble about Seenaryo’s collaborative approach to theatre – and how Seenaryo uses music in our theatre work.

  • Curtain call for the CATS cast

    CATS is an original Seenaryo play: a tale of displacement, told through the eyes of a cat. The cast performed to over 350 people across Jordan and you can meet them in this video.

  • Seenaryo in 2023

    Last year, we reached nearly 20,000 people – creating 44 original plays and training 834 teachers to transform their classrooms through play. Read our 2023 Impact Report now.

  • k 103

    people to date

  • k 58

    children reached through the Seenaryo Playkit

  • 2600

    teachers trained to use play in the classroom

  • 178

    original theatre productions created to date

VALUES

  • Meaningful participation

    at all levels including the way in which we run workshops, work with partners and train teachers – allowing all voices to be heard

  • Evidence-based approaches

    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

  • MISSION

    By breaking apart the typical hierarchies of theatre and classrooms, Seenaryo creates playful spaces for the meaningful participation of under-served communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.

  • AIMS

    • Facilitate skills development by supporting individuals to build social skills, life skills, critical thinking and wellbeing
    • Challenge mistrust and polarisation 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

WHERE
WE WORK

Lebanon

Jordan

  • 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.

WHO WE
WORK WITH

  • Children

    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.

  • Youth

    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.

  • Women

    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.

  • Teachers

    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

  • In communities

    Seenaryo co-creates collaborative, powerful and imaginative theatre in partnership with organisations deeply rooted in the communities they serve. The original plays put participants at the heart of the creative process, giving them a space to collectively share and explore their stories and advocate for their rights.

    Our award-winning Theatre Leadership Training aims to establish a culture of creativity for the long-term. We train and fund youth and women to run their own theatre projects in their communities.

    Learn more

  • In classrooms

    Through the Seenaryo Playkit, we transform classrooms to become participatory and child-centred. The Playkit is an app and training for teachers of 3 – 8 year olds, which gives them the skills to teach their curriculum through theatre, games, songs and stories.

    In 2024, we have begun training former youth theatre participants to become Scenechangers. They are using theatre to teach the curriculum in educational settings throughout Lebanon and Jordan.

    Learn more

  • Seenaryo
    in 2023

  • TILKA trailer

  • The creative journey
    of a Seenaryo play

     

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.

  • Quality education

    Substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

  • Gender equality

    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

  • Reduced inequalities

    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

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.

MEET FARAH

“Seenaryo makes you feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… and it’s you!

FARAH

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.