In this interactive workshop, Reem Almenhali, performance artist and playwright, shares her approaches to writing poetry into theater scenes.

Participants will be taken through writing exercises, to start a journey of their own. This workshop will be delivered in Arabic and English, and participants will have the option to write in either language.

Reem Almenhali

Reem Almenhali is an Emirati performance artist and a playwright. Her body of work includes two performances Deliberately and in Cash and Al Raheel | Departure. Reem received a B.A in theater with a minor in psychology from New York University Abu Dhabi.
Recently, Reem wrote and directed Deliberately and in Cash, a performance lecture on the practice of collecting Diya (blood money) in the Gulf. The piece is a response to a blood money raising campaign that took place in Kuwait in 2019 and successfully raised more than 10 Million Dinars (around 30 million dollars) to set free a man that murdered a female journalist for writing an article portraying the women of his tribes as paid dancers. Reem analyzes the incident through tracing the history of the practice, surveying people’s current affiliation with tribes and relationship to tribal values, and uses the performance to create a space to honor the murdered journalist.

Reem also wrote Al Raheel | Departure, and co-created the performance in collaboration with the director Joanna Settle. Al Raheel is a bilingual contemporary theater piece that uses poetry to explore how the rapidly evolving lifestyle in the UAE and its bilingual reality affected notions of womanhood and redefined belonging for women in different stages of life. Reem won the 2020 Gulf Capital ADMAF Creativity Award for writing the script of Al Raheel.

Reem has also written poems, few of which were performed in public events such as Hekayah | The Story and Rooftop Rhythms, short stories, and prose. Reem is interested in making work that traces the evolution of things in the gulf; how practices and lifestyles changed over time, the shift in lexicon, how the gulf’s post-modern fashion scene emerged. She’s also interested in writing about the idea of time being a place to belong to while utilizing the Arabic and English languages to create bilingual texts that explore how two languages can be a dual window to meaning.