Throughout July 2019, Najee Tannous was supported to develop his new theatre work CARPET STORIES through our PYT Residency program.

CARPET STORIES shares Middle Eastern LGBTQI narratives of bravery and courage through personal storytelling and video. CARPET STORIES empowers the authentic experiences of Middle Eastern Australian and refugees seeking liberation.

Najee commenced the project with a workshop, supported by ACON, for Middle Eastern LGBTQI individuals to meet others, and share their stories and experiences in a safe space. Najee met Mustafa Al-Mahdi through this workshop, who became the performer/co-devisor of the work, and together with their project mentor Karen Therese, the team began to explore such a significant topic.

Najee said that during the first development of CARPET STORIES, “my knowledge of Middle Eastern queerness broadened as the complexities of marrying the two quickly unveiled the harsh realities and courageous journeys individuals had experienced in the quest to seek equilibrium in their lives.”

His hopes for the future work is to “continue facilitating these workshops and work alongside Middle Eastern communities and queer organisations.” Najee envisions that the show will be accompanied by a book with anonymous stories that come from the experiences of those participating in his workshops. He will also look at other ways to facilitate “conversation starters surrounding the intersection of Queerness and Middle Eastern Cultures/identities… to unpack different perspectives and ideologies.”

PYT Residency program supported the development of three new works by emerging Western Sydney theatre makers.

PYT Residencies is supported by SBW Foundation and Crack Festival.

Image Credit: Katy Green Loughrey