The Seven Gates of Damascus: A Musical intervention with Syrian Refugee children

‘The Seven Gates of Damascus” is a 7-part interactive musical performance and story-telling workshop which aims to alleviate the effects of trauma experienced by refugee children as a result of the conflict in Syria. This will include post-performance focus groups with children and their guardians where children will have the space to vocalize their thoughts and feelings after the experience. The seven sections will take participant children on a journey through the seven gates. Throughout this journey, I will be performing live music on the qanun whilst telling a story. The journey is an analogy of the actual journey refugee children had to take from their homeland to a place of peace. The seven stages of the story will unfold in tandem with seven musical units.

I have based the methodology on my experience with London- based, therapeutic theatre production company Oily Cart. Oily Cart is a London-based theatre production company which dedicates its work solely to children with autism (ASD) and to young audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). My work with the company entailed a development period in Michael Tippett School in Loughborough Junction, south London. During this five-week period I witnessed the birth process of the show entitled ‘Bounce’ and collaborated closely with the company’s Director of Music and BBC presenter Max Reinhardt. My work with Reinhardt involved co-composing and co-arranging the music for two versions of the show (PMLD and ASD).

The project is a part of a PhD course I am currently undertaking at SOAS, university of London. You can read about it here. While this course provides me the space to read, critique and reflect, I am aim for this project to develop beyond the scope of a PhD.


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Bab Sahrqi ‘The Eastern Gate’