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By Nahedh Elrayes (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Samah Sabawi Samah Sabawi i(A16513 works by)
Born: Established: 1967 Palestine, Middle East, Asia, ;
Gender: Female
Heritage: Palestinian
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Playwright, author, and poet.

Samah Sabawi has studied at Monash University, Griffith University (where she obtained a Masters in Communication and Media Studies), and Victoria University (where she began a PhD in 2016).

After two of her plays, Cries from the Land (2003) and Three Wishes (2008) were produced in Canada (Sabawi was briefly based in Ottowa), Sabawi premiered her most successful play to date, Tales of a City by the Sea, at La Mama theatre, Melbourne, in November 2014. In 2017, Tales of a City by the Sea won two Drama Victoria awards (administered by the Victorian Association for Drama Education): Best Performance by a Theatre Company for VCE Drama and Best New Australian Publication for VCE Drama. It was also shortlisted for the Victorian Green Room Award for independent theatre productions.

Her play Them was given a rehearsed reading by Melbourne Theatre Company in 2018, and is due to premiere with La Mama Theatre in 2019.

In addition to writing plays, Sabawi has also co-edited an anthology of diasporic Jewish and Palestinian plays (Double Exposure, Playwrights Canada Press, 2016, with Stephen Orlov), which won the  the 2017 Patrick O'Neill Award from the Canadian Association of Theatre Research for the best edited collection on a Canadian theatre and performance topic. The volume included Sabawi's play Tales of a City by the Sea, as well as two other plays by Palestinian writers, three by Jewish writers, and one collaboration between the two.

She has also published poetry and non-fiction in a range of Australian and international publications.

Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2018 recipient Australia Council Grants, Awards and Fellowships

With Lara Week Theatre Arts Projects For Individuals and Groups $17,292.00

Awards for Works

Them 2019 single work drama Five people try and survive the shelling of an unnamed city, where escape is almost as dangerous as staying.
2020 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Louis Esson Prize for Drama
y separately published work icon Tales of a City by the Sea 2014 Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2016 7995323 2014 single work drama

'Gaza 2008: A Palestinian journalist writes poetry on the beach. A doctor must decide to stay or leave. Then come the missiles and the phosphorus showers.

This is the furious and tender exploration of the fragility of freedom. The national collides with the personal as activism and reporting take to the stage. Tales of a City by the Sea uses poetry, tenderness and humour to explore the love between those who have choices, and those who do not. Language fails us when it comes to displacement and grief; yet Samah Sabawi's language cracks grief open and remains present, like the sea' (publication blurb).

'A Palestinian story of love, separation and beautiful resistance.

Are your loved ones trapped behind the wall

Do they need the army’s permission

For their prayers to reach the sky

For their love to cross the ocean

And touch your thirsty heart

Are your loved ones trapped' (production blurb)

2017 shortlisted Victorian Green Room Awards Production : Theatre - Independent
Last amended 11 Sep 2018 16:21:23
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