Based in Kuwait and working internationally across national and cultural boundaries, SABAB uses theatre to engage with issues of identity, history, language and culture. The aim of SABAB’s work is to establish new spaces of action and reflection inside the contemporary Arab world and beyond it. SABAB uses as raw material the points of articulation - literary, historical, geo-political and imagined - that link the Arab World to a wider global context, and seeks to initiate new ones through its theatrical process.

Working alongside UK producer Georgina Van Welie, with an ensemble of pan Arab and international actors, musicians and designers, SABAB's productions are characterised by a radical approach to text, bold production styles and playful, provocative combinations of content and form.

The company has achieved worldwide acclaim and recognition for its productions, performing to audiences across four continents. Recent work includes: Richard III: An Arab Tragedy, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for the Complete Works Festival; The Mirror for Princes / Kalila wa Dimna co-produced by the Tokyo International Arts Festival, Barbican bite06 and Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah, Kuwait; and The Al-Hamlet Summit, co-produced by the Tokyo International Arts Festival.

Sulayman Al-Bassam was born in Kuwait in 1972 and graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1994. He founded Zaoum Theatre in London in 1996, from which emerged the Arabic production platform of the Al Bassam Theatre, in Kuwait in 2002.

October 2010

Text courtesy Sulayman Al Bassam Theatre (2010)

This person was part of Sharjah Biennial 9


Al Bassam, Sulayman

Richard III (An Arab Tragedy)

In this dramatic adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III, the historic setting of late Medieval England is transposed to a fictional setting in the contemporary Middle East.

Al Bassam, Sulayman

Minutes of a Meeting

The piece explores some of the stark contradictions within the paternalistic ideals of Gulf states and reveals a society struggling to come to terms with both its notions of self and its future.