by Hozan Akko et al.
It would depict the authentic reality for normal people living through the war in Syria.
The funding came from the EU, who supported our intention to use radio drama to reach audiences inside Syria.
The aim was to promote a narrative that was realistic, non partisan, and which addressed issues of importance for Syrians today.
These included radicalisation, displacement and sexual violence, as well as the economic and social realities of living through such horrendous times.
But this is about normal life, so in the midst of all that there is also romance, even comedy.
Above all, we’re telling a good story but in doing so we ‘humanise the other’, fostering empathy among groups who are in conflict with each other and also helping bolster a sense of positive national identity during intensely traumatic times.
The writing team was led by Hozan Akko, and included other writers based both in Lebanon and also inside Syria.
By the summer of 2016 we were in production, making 3 episodes per week from Guerrilla Studios in Hamra, Beirut – with a cast that were drawn from all sections of Syrian life – some were Beirut-based and others commuting from inside Syria for the recordings.
In 2017 and 2018 we worked with the same team to make an English version for Radio 4, taking character groups from the Arabic original and creating new stories for UK audiences.
This is funded as a development project. In other words it uses storytelling, audio drama in particular, to address an urgent need.