CHANGING the world begins with listening, says the director of an extraordinary piece of theatre being performed in Glasgow this week.

The Trojans is a haunting and uplifting adaptation of Euripides’ great anti-war tragedy, written and acted by a cast of Syrian refugees living in Glasgow.

The 20 men, women and children came to Platform in Easterhouse from all over the city for nine months, to learn lines, laugh, cry and experience the journey together.

Most had never acted before. There were teenagers, older men and women, mothers and fathers, all with different tales to tell, all set against the harrowing backdrop of war and persecution.

These are men and women who have known the horror of war, bringing their own experiences of exile and loss into a 2500 year old play; who can also tell of the bitter-sweetness of building new lives in Scotland.

Sanaa Al Froukh, 36, fled Syria with her five children, arriving in Glasgow in June 2016.

She was a teacher, and her husband Mahmoud had been imprisoned by the regime. The war was escalating around her, and she knew she needed to get herself and her children out. Mahmoud joined the family a few months ago – her parents are still in Syria.

“When I saw people performing their stories at a Trojans workshop I thought, I want to be part of this,” says Sanaa, who now lives in Milton of Campsie.

“The play is really a proof, of sorts, for our time in Syria and it’s a way to get across to people who may have questions about why we are in Scotland.

“At the end of the show we will talk about our real experiences, about life before and now in Scotland. We feel very happy here – and very safe. We have made friends, we can be ourselves and can work and study.”

Sanaa, who is studying English and planning to resume her studies in postgraduate psychology, adds with a smile: “I also have no problem with the weather…”

Sanaa’s oldest daughter Heba, 19, is part of the cast.

“It is good to be part of the show and I’m grateful to have a platform to tell the story of suffering and pain we experienced, and how we came here to be safe,” she says.

“We have freedom to talk in Glasgow that we didn’t have in Syria.”

Heba, who is hoping to study clinical psychology at university adds: “I have an education and a life here in Glasgow. This city is so friendly. I see it as my home.”

The Trojans is being performed at Platform in Easterhouse this Friday and Saturday, February 8 and 9 by Trojan Women Scotland, Platform and Terra Incognita.

It is the culmination of nine months of drama workshops and rehearsals at Platform. The aim is to build links between Syrians newly arrived in Scotland and local communities; and to allow Syrians who have found a haven in Scotland to work through feelings of depression, isolation and trauma.

Matt Addicott, Programme Lead at Platform, said it had been an “exciting and ambitious project.”

He adds: “It has been a real joy to meet the cast and their families and we very much hope to find ways of continuing to host them here at the venue in the weeks, months and years ahead.

“Before each rehearsal the cast and production team sat down to a supper of Syrian food prepared by one of the actors, and friendships have been formed as a result of the project.

“To see the group get to know each other better and strengthen as a community is terrific.”

The awardwinning director of The Trojans, Victoria Beesley, agrees.

“This is an amazing group of people, who I feel very lucky to be working with,” she says.

“They have created an honest, difficult, hopeful piece of theatre which shares some of the realities of being a Syrian refugee in Glasgow today.

“They are really passionate about sharing their stories.

“I think the act of listening and bearing witness to these stories is a really important thing for us to do.”

Tickets on sale now at or by calling 0141 276 9696.

Syrian refugees will be given free entry.