Theatre about life in Lebanon’s Prisons

Produced by: Lebanese NGO Catharsis

A play produced and performed by inmates of Lebanon’s Roumieh prison, under the guidance of drama therapist Zeina Daccache, Johar… Up in the Air is the result of a project aiming to improve mental health in Lebanese prisons and bring about suitable legislation for mentally ill inmates and inmates sentenced to life.

Johar… was produced within the framework of The Untold Story of Forgotten Behind Bars, a project implemented by Catharsis, an NGO founded by Daccache, funded by the European Union and run in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior & Municipalities and the Ministry of Justice. The project gives voice to previously voiceless inmates (some of them suffering from mental illness) and resulted in a study investigating the prevalence of severe mental illness among an inmate population in Lebanon; the production of the theatre play; a legal research including a comparative law study; and, ultimately, a draft law.

The play offers the inmates an opportunity to share the stories of the forgotten, through monologues and short scenes. As one of the inmates says in one scene: “my mental illness and the prison are a double punishment”. Johar… was among the projects highlighted issue 01 of Tarikhi: The Journal of Arab World Voices.

Read more about Johar… and other productions developed by Zeina Caccache at