New drama on the plight of exile, written and directed by Peter Stürm, with poetry by Imru Al-Qays and Adnan Al-Sayegh.

30 November – 3 December 2023, The Cockpit, London NW8

“Oh you long night will you ever dispel and shine? yet the dawn of day will be no better than you”. (Imru Al-Qays)

Timed with the 20th anniversary of the allied invasion of Iraq. DESERT POET travels from the urban to the ancient desert in dramatic form. It tells of the complex rite of passage of many who had to flee their countries. For the first time the Master Poem of Imru Al-Qays is presented in English and Arabic.

At a shrine in Ankara of poet Imru Al-Qays a disillusioned young man in search of his roots is sold a dream by a troupe of actors. The Goddess of Fate leads him into the Deserts of the Soul. He encounters, poets, lovers, prophets and dreams he is Al-Qays himself. When war-poet Aboud disrupts him at a poetry festival the two compete for the ultimate crown.

Ensemble: Alhena Al-Ali Douglas, Jaouhar Ben Ayed, Guy Burgess, Hadeel Kamil, Neetika Knight, Prince Owusu, Ali Zayn.

Design: Nicolai Hart-Hansen Light: Sammy Emmins Sound: Josh Anio Grigg

Photos Patrick Baldwin

Adnan Al-Sayegh is the recipient of several international poetry awards, and author of the longest poem ever written in Arab language, ‘Uruk’s Anthem’.

“There is no home for me except the shade of a poem”. (Adnan Al-Sayegh)

(The Mu’allaqa of Imru Al-Qays translated by Peter Stürm. Poetry by Adnan Al-Sayegh translated by Jenny Lewis, Ruba Abughaida and others).