December 2022 — January 2023

Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights

by Hannah Khalil, directed by Pooja Ghai

A Tamasha and Shakespeare’s Globe co-production


‘Look at her – plucked and waxed and creamed and painted. Ready for battle. For the inevitable.’

Share in the unifying power of storytelling as ancient tales are reclaimed, rewritten and reimagined for Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights in the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe. Hakawati /hakəˈwɑːti/. Noun: Storyteller. From the Arabic terms hekaye meaning story and haki meaning to talk.  A tyrant revenges his wife’s infidelity by wedding, bedding and beheading a new bride every day. Years later, only five brides-in-waiting remain.   These women are unapologetic, and united in their fight to keep themselves – and the whole of womankind – alive. They’ve got other ideas for their future, and it starts with a story…  This fearless new play, a co-production with Shakespeare’s Globe, is directed by our Artistic Director, Pooja Ghai (LOTUS BEAUTY, Hampstead, LIONS AND TIGERS, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) and written by Globe Resident Writer Hannah Khalil (THE FIR TREE, HENRY VIII, Globe), with contributions from Hanan al-ShaykhSuhayla El-Bushra and Sara Shaarawi.

This production contains strong and sexual language, and themes of oppression and slavery.

Please note that this production is in English.

IMAGE: Photography: Johan Persson. Art Direction: Irene Omodeo Zorini.


Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe

21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT

01 Dec — 14 Jan

Book now


Houda Echouafni

Wadiha the Dancer

Alaa Habib

Fatah the Young

Laura Hanna

Zuya the Warrior

Nadi Kemp-Sayfi

Akila the Writer

Roann McCloskey

Naha the Wise

Creative Team

Maariyah Sharjil – Assistant Designer

Layla Madanat – Assistant Director

Matt Haskins – Candle Consultant

Kareem Samara – Composer

Sabia Smith – Costume Supervisor

Rosa Maggiora – Designer

Pooja Ghai – Director

R-C Annie – Fight Direction

Glynn MacDonald – Globe Associate, Movement

Tess Dignan – Head of Voice

Jess Tucker Boyd – Movement Director

Katherine Heath – Seasonal Voice Coach

Hannah Khalil – Writer

"Cheeky, charming, and gorgeously intimate"

  • The Arts Desk

"A wonderful show to bring light to a cold winter’s eve"

  • Everything Theatre

"This whole show is an unqualified treat"

  • The Reviews Hub

Photo by Ellie Kurttz

Post-show talks

Post-show talk and Q&A with MENA Arts – 6 January

This free post-show talk is a chance to hear director Pooja Ghai and writer Hannah Khalil discuss Hakawatis, hosted by MENA Arts.

Included in your ticket when you book for Friday 6 January at 7.30pm.

Post-show talk – 13 January

Professor Farah Karim-Cooper is joined by Despina Tsatsas, Michelle Terry, Pooja Ghai, and Hannah Khalil to discuss the importance of risk-taking in the theatre sector, and the rewards of programming theatre for, and about, Global Majority voices.

Included free with your ticket when you book for Friday 13 January at 7.30pm.