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Laila Soliman | Ruud Gielens (Cairo | Antwerp | Niedersachsen)

03.11. 18:00 – 20:00

Gasteig Carl-Orff-Saal

entrance € 18,00 | reduced € 9,00

MY BODY BELONGS TO ME is shown in a double performance with SOLO FÜR MARIA | Artist talk after the performance, moderated by Silvia Bauer

Arabic, German and English with German and English supertitles

  • Alternative Sitz- und Liegemöglichkeiten
  • Rollstuhlgerecht
  • Induktive Höranlage

MY BODY BELONGS TO ME is a dense and direct theatrical work performed in a minimalist stage setting. The performers, originally from the Sudan and Eritrea, are members of a self-organised group that campaigns against FGM (female genital mutilation). In MY BODY BELONGS TO ME, the activists – mothers, housewives and working women – stand on the stage, sing traditional women’s songs, and tell their very individual life stories with remarkable openness: stories of growing up as women, the mutilation and its consequences, how they came to Germany, and their experiences of support and solidarity – far beyond any clichés.  


Podcast Episode by Verriss & Vorurteil with Laila Soliman (in German)

Click picture to listen on the SPIELART Blog

#Theatre  #Body and Representation  #Engagement  #Feminism 

Read more:


Concept | Direction Ruud Gielens | Laila Soliman Coordination of the group My Body Belongs to Me Mai Shatta With Nihad Ahmed | Yodit Akbalat | Mona Habib Allah | Nadia Elsayed| Nagat Hamid | Abir Omer Production Management Swantje Möller Translation Folk Songs Ishraga Mustafa Hamid Surtitles Raman Khalaf Collaboration Surtitles Swantje Möller | Anna Johannsen Translation SurtitlesNaomi Boyce | Sara El-Nager | Ishraga Mustafa Hamid | Najwa Sabra | Kurt Svatek Surtitles ArangementRuud Gielens | Raman Khalaf English Translation Corinne Hundleby


The Egyptian theatre-maker Laila Soliman and the Belgian Ruud Gielens have been working together on artistic projects since 2011. The constellations that they enter into for the individual works are different in each case. For example, together they have staged the productions LESSONS IN REVOLTING (2011), LA GRANDE MAISON (2015) and MUSEUM OF THE STATE SECURITY SYSTEM (2015), which have been highly praised by the press. Gielens produced Solimans latest directing series NO TIME FOR ART (2011-2014), HAWA EL HORREYA (2014) and ZIGZIG (2016). In these pieces he was also responsible for light and video. Soliman was also the dramaturge in Gielens' productions of IN THE EYES OF HEAVEN (2016) and THE MEURSAULT INVESTIGATION (2017).


Laila Soliman (*1981) is a freelance Egyptian theatre director, dramaturge and playwright. She lives and works in Cairo. She studied theatre at the American University in Cairo and received her Master of Arts in Theatre from DAS Arts (AHK) in Amsterdam. Since 2004 her works have been shown in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and various European countries.


Ruud Gielens (*1977) is a versatile artist active in various fields of the performing arts. He is a stage and lighting designer, has realised video designs and staged productions at several theatres in Belgium and abroad. Ruud Gielens studied theatre directing at the RITS Theatre School in Brussels and, after graduating, taught the young, up-and-coming directors there.


Nihad Ahmed was born in the region of al-Jazira (Sudan). She is married and has two sons: Mahmoud (aged ten) and Ahmed (aged three and a half). Before coming to Germany from Libya in 2014 via the Mediterranean, Italy and France, she worked as a nanny and educator in Egypt and Libya. In Germany she worked for two years in a dental practice and one year in a hotel. She loves singing, acting and cooking, and would like to train as a chef, in order to work in a restaurant. For the future, she wants safety for herself and her children.


Eritrean Yodit Akbalat was born in Rakubah (Sudan). She is married and has four children aged three, eight, thirteen and fifteen. Because of the war in Eritrea, her family fled to Sudan. Yodit Akbalat loves singing. The theatre she sees as a way to communicate with many people. She used to work as a tea seller and hairdresser and is currently learning German. Her interest lies in special education. She was thirty years old, when she arrived in Germany in 2015, fleeing from combatants of the "Islamic State" via Libya, the Mediterranean and Italy.


Mona Habib Allah was born in Kurdufan (Sudan). She studied in Khartoum and went to Libya in 2013, where she worked as an administrative assistant. Via the Mediterranean and Italy, she reached Germany in 2015. She is married and has three children aged three, seven and nine. In her leisure time, Mona Habib Allah likes to read and goes swimming or cycling. She currently studies industrial engineering and electrical engineering at the Technical University of Braunschweig in her fifth semester and works as a student assistant in the field of study and teaching. She wishes that her grandmother could see this performance: "Maybe then she will understand".


Nadia Elsayed was born in Kusti (Sudan). She is single and has no children. In Sudan she worked first as a teacher, then as an educator, and eventually founded her own cleaning company. She jogs regularly, enjoys sitting on the beach and dreams of getting a German passport, continuing her studies and finding a good job as a social worker or kindergarten teacher. Currently she holds a minijob as a cleaner in a supermarket and is taking contact studies in the field of pedagogical competence in the migration society. Nadia Elsayed came to Germany as a companion for her mother, who received medical treatment here: by plane from Khartoum via Istanbul to Hanover. When her mother died, she stayed because her brothers live here, too.


Nagat Hamid, born in Omdurman (Sudan), is also single without children. She worked in Sudan as a social pedagogue and psychological counsellor and was project coordinator for various NGOs. Her hobbies are travelling, dancing and singing. Following on from her NGO work at home, she would like to advise refugees in Germany and support them in dealing with their traumas by means of a theatre therapeutic approach. She sees the stage as a way of dealing with social problems. Nagat Hamid would love to see her brother watch the play: he successfully fought against the circumcision of his younger sisters.


Abir Omer was born in Khartoum (Sudan) and is an accountant by profession. She came to Germany via Italy, Norway and Sweden in February 2014. Abir Omer is married and has children aged five, nine and ten. She enjoys painting and the new experiences she gains in the theatre. At present she works with one- to three-year-old children in an innovative play and learning programme called "Opstapje", which especially targets migrant families. She wishes for a successful and fulfilling professional life in the field of social work.

Production and realization

Production Festival Theaterformen Co-Production SHISH VZW In the scope of Entangled Histories supported by Kulturstiftung des Bundes Gefördert durch das Goethe-Institut