BBC World Service will broadcast Al Amwaj (The Waves), a new play created by a group of Arab writers, on Saturday, March 21.
The play is the result of an Arab playwriting initiative that was organised by the BBC in conjunction with the British Council in July 2008 in Doha. Al Amwaj is the first BBC play to be commissioned from writers in the Gulf region.
The play, which explores storytelling and identity, is told through the experiences of taxi driver Noor Alam. It follows the journey of his six passengers to an unspecified coastal town in the Gulf.
Al Amwaj was the result of a three-day “Writing for Radio” workshop held in Doha. The event was run by award-winning writer Nick Warburton and executive producer of BBC World Drama, Marion Nancarrow.
Thirty writers from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar were invited to take part.
Attendees were then asked to submit ideas, scenes and treatments reflecting the things they cared about, with a view to becoming part of a smaller group who would work together to write a play specifically for BBC World Drama.
Seven writers were subsequently selected and following a second intensive script workshop held over two days in Qatar, led by Warburton, the selected writers created Al Amwaj.
“This play is unique, both in terms of who has written it and the way in which it has been created,” commented Marion Nancarrow, executive producer of Radio Drama, BBC World Service.
“It comes from the heart of the Arab world and it tells stories and creates characters we don’t often have the chance to hear. Radio drama is a wonderful, intimate medium which allows this to happen."