Using drama to foster a sense of national identity in Syria

Since 2011, life in Syria has been characterised by conflict, displacement, and uncertainty. People living in Syria, however, are still working to build a future for themselves and their families.

Hay El-Matar (Airport District) is a thrice-weekly radio drama which aims to reflect the reality of people living in the country. Set in a fictional city suburb and written and acted by Syrians, it follows the daily lives of residents as they cope with the impact of prolonged civil war.

The 150-episode drama has all the ingredients of a classic soap opera; love affairs, family disputes, personal ambition and revenge. Each episode touches on a different issue relevant to life in Syria today; the ongoing civil war, domestic violence, education and migration to name a few.

By appealing to people from different regions, religions and ethnic groups across Syria, the project aims to foster a sense of shared identity among its listeners.

Audience members are able to respond to issues raised in the drama through a weekly discussion programme called 'Cafe Syria', produced in collaboration with BBC Arabic.

Hay El-Matar is available as a downloadable podcast and broadcast by BBC Arabic. The programme is produced by BBC Media Action with production agency, Batoota Films.

Project information
Project name Hay El-Matar (Airport District)
Funder The European Commission’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)
Dates 2016-2017
Themes Governance
Outputs Radio
Partners BBC Arabic