An unexpectedly compelling theatrical experience with a rough and ready energy, and, in the very act of its telling, speaks for the voiceless and forgotten.” – The Guardian (UK)

The Siege is a passionate retelling of the story of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, during the height of the second intifada. Drawn from interviews with survivors, it is told from the point of view of some of the armed Palestinian fighters who found refuge in the church. Along with 200 civilians, they were given sanctuary by the church’s resident priests and nuns and spent 39 days there with dwindling food, water and medical supplies. While the world watched, the fighters grappled with survival, ideology, and the decision to continue the struggle to the end, or surrender.

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The Freedom Theatre, based in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, is dedicated to using culture and art as catalysts for social change. Through workshops, classes and professional theater productions, the company helps Palestinian adults, youth and women develop tools to deal with the hardships of daily life under occupation.

Every performance of The Siege will be followed by a post-show conversation, with guest artists, writers and educators, in conversation with Nabil Al-Raee and Zoe Lafferty, co-directors of The Siege. Read speaker bios here.

The North American premiere tour of The Siege is produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann.
Performed in Arabic with English supertitles.

The Freedom Theatre at NYU Skirball is co-sponsored by the Department of NYU Tisch Dance, the Department of NYU Steinhardt Educational Theatre, the Department of NYU Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Kevorkian Center.

PLEASE NOTE: The performance contains herbal cigarettes, haze, strobes, loud noises, gunshots, military reference, and other materials of war.

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The Siege

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Post-Show Conversations

More information on post-show speakers and other events on campus.

Oskar Eustis on the Freedom Theatre

The very essence of the drama is empathy, the act of seeing through the eyes of someone different than yourself.

Readings Etc.

Reading Lists, Digital Program, Media, and More