Home » The Siege
The Siege

The Siege

April 2002. Spring in Bethlehem. A group of armed men seek sanctuary in one of the world’s holiest sites as the Israeli army closes in with helicopters, tanks and snipers. Along with the fighters are some 100 priests, nuns and civilians. The siege lasts for 39 days, paralyzing the center of Bethlehem and keeping tens of thousands under curfew. Inside the Church of Nativity the besieged are hungry and weakening. The smell of unwashed bodies and broken lavatories is mixed with the stench from the suppurating wounds of the injured. Two dead bodies are decomposing in a cave below the church. While the world is watching, the fighters are faced with the question of whether to struggle to the end or to surrender. No matter what they choose, they will have to leave their families and their homeland behind. 

The Freedom Theatre embarks on its first-ever tour of the UK, with a brand new production: The Siege. It is inspired by the real-life accounts of a group of fighters and civilians who during the height of the second Intifada took refuge in the Church of the Nativity as the Israeli army closed in. The directors traced the fighters, now exiled across Europe and Gaza, and collected their and others‘ untold accounts of an event that with time has taken on almost mythical proportion.

Did you watch The Siege? We’d love to hear from you!

Curious to know what others think of The Siege? Read some comments on the production page!

It is very exciting to welcome the Freedom Theatre’s tour of their new play ‘The Siege’ to Britain. This is real political theatre, performed out of the both terrible and inspiring experience of a struggle for freedom and justice. They are living proof that telling stories and entertaining audiences are powerful acts of resistance to oppression. Do go and see them, they have news for us. This little theatre could change the world.” Howard Brenton, playwright


THE LOWRY (Manchester) 13th – 14th May
LAKESIDE THEATRE (Colchester) 16th May
BAC (London) 19th – 23rd May
THE HUB (Leeds) 26th May
ST MARY IN THE CASTLE (Hastings) 28th May
THE MERLIN (Frome) 30th May
The REP (Birmingham) 4th – 6th June
NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE (Nottingham) 10th – 11th June
THE CUT (Halesworth) 13th June
THE TRON (Glasgow) 17th – 20th June

In addition to these performances, there will be a string of workshops and events throughout the UK tour. Find a list here!

The UK tour is organised by The Friends of The Freedom Theatre UK, a network of over 300 people in Britain who are engaged in the theatre’s activities. YOU can join them! Email info@thefreedomtheatreukfriends.org.

Prior to touring Britain, The Siege was performed at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, and at other venues in occupied Palestine. Read more about performances of The Siege in the West Bank.


  1. Will look out for this important work at BAC

  2. Are any of these performances in London?

  3. hi, I seen the freedom theatre when you perofrmed in Kempton. and after the show during the discussion. i did a bit of translation for Juliano english to german!, a really nice guy and very funny as well.
    it said that you will be touring in ireland aswell but there are not dates?.
    alan whittaker.

  4. Dear Alan, the plan was to come to Ireland as well but unfortunately that was not possible in the end. Another time, we hope!

  5. Will the performances be in English, or in Arabic with translation?
    Thanks in advance for an answer.

  6. I am a freelance journalist and am interested in seeing this play. Can you tell me if it will be in English?
    I may be in Palestine during one of your shows. If not I would like to see it in the UK.
    Is it possible to find out a bit about the script?
    How many people are in the play?
    How long does the play last?

  7. HI, the performance is in Arabic. There is a story breakdown available on the website: http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/productions-productions/the-siege/

    There’s a cast of six. The play is about an hour long.

  8. The Siege is in Arabic. There will be English surtitles in the UK. There is a story breakdown available on the website: http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/productions-productions/the-siege/

  9. Nick Bilbrough

    I think that originally the plan was that the Siege would also be performed in Plymouth. Is that still happening?

  10. The list here includes all performances during the UK tour.

  11. Yes, at the Battersea Arts Centre May 19-23!

  12. Peter Riches

    I saw the show on Saturday 6th June in Birmingham and thought it to be very moving. It was shame that it was not delivered in English as the translation (sur title?) was too high relative to where I was sitting (row B) and consequently missed some fo the emotion which was displayed by the actors.

    It showed the reality of life in any context, where individuals hold wdely differing views. It must have been extremely difficult in the Interfada of 2002. But what really appalled me cmerightat the end was the statement that certain individuals could not meet their families after the event – they were exiled. How any government could inflict such a penalty defetes me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.