Using drama to foster a sense of national identity in Syria

Hay El-Matar (Airport District) is a thrice-weekly radio drama which aims to reflect the reality of people living in the country.

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