Following sell-out shows in London, Edinburgh and Adelaide, Qadita production’s TAHA, the award winning lyrical story of the life of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali will be presented in the State Theatre for 6 shows only from July 10-14 as part of Art Centre Melbourne’s Big World, Up Close series. Written and performed by Palestinian author and performer Amer Hlehel, TAHA has been translated into English and directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi, one of the Middle East’s most important writer/directors.

Simply staged, with no props, other than a bench and a briefcase, Hlehel pulls the audience into the story of how a humble, engaging man evolved into a renowned Palestinian writer against all the odds and whose beloved verses document hopeful survival.

Based on Adina Hoffman’s book My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness and based on the poet’s works, writer-performer Amer Hlehel has created a tour de force solo performance interweaving Taha’s singular and exquisite poetry with his compelling life journey. Hlehel creates the life of a young man determined to overcome the poverty of life in his village. His early years of optimism and entrepreneurship are cut short when his village is bombed in 1948. Hlehel as Taha, entices the audience to follow him and his family as they flee to refugee camps in Lebanon.

TAHA is part of Big World, Up Close  – a powerhouse performance series showcasing the most compelling new works from across the globe. Tapping into urgent energies from Africa to the Middle East and Australia’s own shores, each piece in the series reveals profound and personal stories told by vital voices in music and theatre. Launched in 2017, Arts Centre Melbourne’s contemporary winter performance series features works that are created by artists from diverse backgrounds that promote conversations around pressing cultural and political issues. In addition to TAHA, the Big World, Up Close program features The Fall by the Baxter Theatre Centre from Cape Town and Native Tongue by Mojo Juju, a musician of Indigenous Australian and Filipino heritage.

July 10 – 14