May 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 200 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. 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 forever.

The Siege is inspired by real life testimonies from a group of fighters, now exiled across Europe. It has been developed and devised by The Freedom Theatre, a unique ensemble based in Jenin Refugee camp who lived under occupation their whole lives. It is directed by Artistic Director, Nabil Al-Raee and British director, Zoe Lafferty. This will be the first time the company has toured to the UK.


The UK tour is organized by The Freedom Theatre UK Friends, a network of over 300 people in Britain who are engaged in the theatre’s activities. The Siege and its UK tour are supported by the EU, the British Council, Steps Beyond – European Cultural Foundation, Arts Council England and The Roddick Foundation. Other supporters include the playwright, Howard Brenton and film-maker, Ken Loach and their statements are included below.

“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

Date Time Venue Notes Prices Booking

The DOOR at The REP

  • Address: Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EP
  • The REP’s smallest auditorium. The DOOR seats 140 people. Wheelchair seating is available at the front.

    A highly intimate space, The DOOR has been dedicated to new plays since 1998 and has seen many world premieres!

    Because entry to the auditorium stands on the very edge of the performance space, absolutely no latecomers can be admitted to shows in The DOOR!

  • Box Office: 0121 236 4455
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