The recently established National Theatre of Parramatta has just commenced performances of The Cartographer’s Curse, the third production to be staged in its inaugural season.

Presented together with Third Space Productions, The Cartographer’s Curse is described as “an eclectic imagining of history”, and is now playing at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres until Saturday.

The Cartographer’s Curse is the story of a cartographer and his family. One hundred years ago, British diplomat Mark Sykes and French counterpart François Georges-Picot met over a map and set about drawing borders to divide the Middle East to suit their respective interests. The stage is set for a battle of ideals against a backdrop of resistance, duplicity and disaster. Audiences will become witnesses to the effects of power and greed not only on maps and borders, but on families and freedom. The piece includes spoken word poetry and prose, parkour movement and qanunic music.

In this world premiere production, Ludwig El Haddad plays the cartographer, Ghassan Hage is the wandering professor, Sara Saleh is the poet, Ali Kadhim is the resistance, Alissar Gazal is the merchant, and Mohamed Lelo is Master of the Qanun. Direction is by Paula Abood, a community cultural development practitioner, writer, creative producer and educator, who’s written for performance, radio, publications and film and, in 2013, received the Australia Council’s Ros Bower Award for lifetime achievement in community cultural development practice.

Talking about the cast assembled for the new work, Abood said, “This ensemble captures the very best of Arab Australian artistry in all its different expression. Each performer in The Cartographer’s Curse brings a particular prowess and this makes for an exciting performance.”

More information, including season details, can be found below.


The Cartographer: Ludwig El Haddad
The Wandering Professor: Ghassan Hage
The Poet: Sara Saleh
The Resistance: Ali Kadhim
The Merchant: Alissar Gazal
Qanun Musician: Mohamed Lelo
Director: Paula Abood
Assistant Director/Co-producer: Claudia Chidiac
Digital Artist: Jerome Pearce
Dramaturgy: Barry Gamba


Venue: Riverside Theatres – Corner of Church and Market Streets, Parramatta


Wednesday 5 October 7:30pm – Preview
Thursday 6 October 7.30pm – Opening night
Friday 7 October 7.30pm – Includes post show Q&A
Saturday 8 October 2pm and 7.30pm
Saturday 8 October 4pm – The Cartographer’s Curse Panel Discussion. An engaging Q&A featuring academics and artists in partnership with The University of Sydney’s Department of Arabic Language and Cultures. Free, bookings essential.

Tickets: Adult $37, Concession $32, 30 & Under $27. From the Box Office (02) 8839 3399 or www.riversideparramatta.com.au