1 JUNE 2018


by Effie Samara

Directed by Annemiek Van Elst

Contagion breaks out on Lesbos, seemingly affecting only the refugee population and breeding fear and division across the island.

As the island is shaken by the spread of infection, Maria Papadopoulos, Head of the Nurses' Union, is dragged back into public life only to find herself used and manipulated by forces she can’t understand. The resolution to the mystery of the virus ultimately comes from Sarah Al-Asari a Syrian biochemist, who will discover her political and sexual awakening in her passionate encounter with Maria. Sarah’s discovery will have devastating consequences for the island and its inhabitants. Alas, a swaggering opposition circles, impatient for insurrection and hungry for private gain. The Citizens of Lesbos will be the ultimate judges of her fate but do they stand a chance against the might of the State and its ability to manufacture consent?

Lesbos is a fierce exploration of how our fear of the unknown and the 'foreign' is brutally exploited to justify corporate greed and bring about the resurrection of ethno-state ideology.

LESBOS was inspired by the situation created by the refugee crisis on the island of Lesbos, and the wider consequences of forced migration around the globe. LESBOS has been developed over the last year with the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, the Scottish Refugee Council, Playwrights’ Studio Scotland & the Tramway Theatre, Glasgow.

LESBOS at the ARCOLA is produced by Kati Donlon


Nadia Lamin

Lauren Gibson

Jonathan Cobb

Christopher Runciman

Sean Matthews


Jacob Crossley

Tilly-Mae Millbrook

Lauren Ziebart

ANNEMIEK VAN ELST studied theatre directing at Fontys in the Netherlands and received her Masters from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has worked with the Lyric Hammersmith and the English National Opera and is currently directing Nele Needs a Holiday, The Musical at Ovalhouse and Edinburgh Fringe