The Tribe, theatre production

Urban Theatre Projects’ The Tribe

In The Arts and Expression by LivingNowLeave a Comment

…Shammas is a wonderfully expressive storyteller with an easy, natural charisma that transfixes your attention. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wish the story didn’t end.” – Time Out ★★★★★

…a  gorgeous and evocative  monologue… Shammas is an extraordinary storyteller, and the marriage of his performance and the text is the work’s great strength.  – Daily Review ★★★★

The Tribe feels like an intimate yarn, offering an authentic glimpse into a family and a culture, a genuine slice of life delivered with real love. – Scene and Heard


Following sell-out seasons at Sydney Festival (2015) and Belvoir St Theatre, Urban Theatre Projects’ The Tribe journeys to a Newport backyard for its season at The SUBSTATION.

The Tribe is an open invitation to listen to an Arab-Australian story from our backyard, in our backyards. The production is an intimate outdoor experience and The SUBSTATION currently has an open call to Newport residents to host the production for its Melbourne season.

Performed by Hazem Shammas, The Tribe is a story of belonging and family told by Bani – a small boy finding his way in a young country by recounting tales of the old. At the heart of story is Bani’s love for his Tayta, his grandmother and core presence in his life, who carries all the truths of ‘The Tribe’ – a small Muslim sect who fled the impending civil war in Lebanon to settle in Australia.

Cellist and composer Oonagh Sherrard performs alongside Shammas’ Bani, who like a visionary child channeling a Bedouin storyteller, captivates his audience under the stars in a suburban backyard.

Based on Western Sydney writer, Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s award-winning novel of the same name, the work offers a privileged introduction to the life and customs of The Tribe. The debut novel for the author, earned him Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist of the Year in 2015.

The beauty of the story not only unfurls in its starry outdoor setting but also in the group of people gathered together to bring the story to stage.  Director Janice Muller, who adapted the book in conjunction with Michael Mohammed Ahmad, speaks of the inspiration the Arabic storytelling traditions provided her and ensuring responsibility towards Mohammed’s words. Currently Director in Residence at the Malthouse Theatre, Muller’s credits include Mantle (dramaturg), The Piper, If Truth Be Told and A Woman in Berlin amongst others.

Hazem Shammas portrayed Bani in the premiere season for the 2015 Sydney Festival and his body of work includes the title role of State Theatre Company of South Australia’s production of Othello as well as Belvoir productions’ Mother Courage and her Children, Scorched and Antigone; Bell Shakespeare’s The Tempest, A Comedy of Errors; Malthouse Theatre Company’s Criminology amongst others and Urban Theatre Projects’ 2012 Sydney Festival production Buried City.

Composer Oonagh Sherrard, whose hauntingly beautiful music embodies The Tribe’s sentiment, has worked across stage and film. Her recent work includes music for the multi-platform documentary RETROSPECT: War, Family, Afghanistan with ABC Online, ABC Radio National and UNSW’s icinema short film Ashok Roy: Surmani: Pearl of Melody for Parramasala’s Film Festival and Ashok Roy: From India with Love for ABC Radio National.

Trailer (2 mins):


The Tribe

Presented by The SUBSTATION and Urban Theatre Projects

Adapted by Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Janice Muller.

Based on the novel by Michael Mohammed Ahmad.

Director: Janice Muller

Performer: Hazem Shammas

Composer and Performer: Oonagh Sherrard

Production Manager: Frank Mainoo

Producer: Urban Theatre Projects

Supported by: Arts NSW, Australia Council for the Arts, Hobsons Bay City Council and Western Sydney University


Event details:

Season: 30 March, 31 March and 1 April, 7pm & 9pm

Tickets: $35 Standard / $25 Concession

Venue:  A Newport backyard to be announced

THE SUBSTATION, 1 Market Street Newport


Twitter:  @thesubstation_


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