Immersive Sound Installation

Gardens Speak

Tania El Khoury (Lebanon)

Event has ended

  • 222 Arts Club
    19 - 30 May 2021

    19-21, 26-28 May, Wed-Fri
    6pm, 7.30pm, 9pm

    22, 23, 29, 30 May, Sat & Sun
    11am, 12.30pm, 3.30pm, 5pm, 8pm, 9.30pm
  • $35*
    *Limited concessions available for students, NSFs and seniors

    • 40m, no intermission

    • Rating: R18 (Mature Content)

    • Recommended for 18 years old and above.
    • Content warning: Themes and description of war and violence.
    • Performed in English

    • Audience member is recommended to dress comfortably

    • Admission is subject to tickets produced at the entrance

    Due to the nature of the performance, latecomers will not be admitted.

    No photography, video recording or audio recording is permitted for this event.

  • Important Information for attendees of the live performance

    Measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all patrons.

    This includes but not limited to wearing a mask at all times for both staff and patrons, hand sanitization before and after performance, temperature taking,TraceTogether check-in and observance of social distancing around the theatre.

    Failure to comply will result in refusal of entry into the venue. Please note that admission into the venue requires TraceTogether (TT). Do download the TT app on your mobile and set it up beforehand, or bring along your TT token for check-in at the venue. No other check-in modes will be accepted. We regret that patrons without TT at the entrances will be denied entry.

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Immersive Sound Installation

Gardens Speak

Tania El Khoury (Lebanon)

“Even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins.” -Walter Benjamin

An intimate and poetic sound installation set in a Syrian garden, Gardens Speak invites you to listen to ten soulful narratives by placing your head on the ground.

One of today's most provocative artists returns to the gardens of Syria as the setting for this powerful work. Lebanese-British artist Tania El Khoury tenderly recreates the memories and stories of a people under siege. Away from the war-ravaged streets, the dead bodies of activists and protestors from the early periods of the Syrian uprising are quietly laid to rest in gardens across the city.

In Gardens Speak, El Khoury invites you listen to the oral histories of ten ordinary people who were buried in these Syrian gardens. Each narrative has been carefully constructed with the friends and family members of the deceased to retell their stories as they themselves may have recounted it. They are compiled with found audio that evidences their final moments.​​

Just like the dead protect the living by not exposing them to further danger at the hands of the regime, we – the living – protect the dead by telling their stories, and not allowing their deaths to become instruments to the regime.

Lay your head quietly to the ground, and let the sounds from beneath speak to you – in a quietly powerful work that embraces life, death and the human condition. 


This piece will change the way you think.” - What’s on Stage

Eerily absorbing.”  - Evening Standard

A stark, moving theater piece by Tania El Khoury, brings us into painful intimacy with the human cost of the war.  - The New York Times

One of the most uniquely individual and profound theatrical experiences in recent memory.- Edge Media Network


Interactive Sound Installation Performance: Tania El Khoury

Production Assistant and Audience Guide: Naya Salame

Production Manager: Jessica Harrington

Research Assistant and Writer (Arabic): Keenana Issa English

Translation: Ziad Abu-Rish

Calligraphy and Tombstones Design: Dia Batal

Set Design: Abir Saksouk

Sound Recording & Editing: Khairy Eibesh (Stronghold Sound)

Produced by: Artsadmin

Co-commissioned by Fierce Festival (UK) and Next Wave Festival (Australia.)

Developed through the Artsadmin Artists’ Bursary Scheme.

Supported by Arts Council of England.


Tania El Khoury is a live artist creating installations and performances focused on audience interactivity and concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. Her work has been translated and presented in multiple languages in 32 countries across six continents, in spaces ranging from museums to cable cars to the Mediterranean Sea. She is a 2019 Soros Art Fellow and the recipient of the 2017 International Live Art Prize, the 2011 Total Theatre Innovation Award and Arches Brick Award.

Tania was a festival guest curator at Bard Fisher Center. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2018, a survey of her work entitled “ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury” took place in Philadelphia organised by Bryn Mawr College and FringeArts Festival funded by Pew Centre for Arts and Heritage. Tania is affiliated with Forest Fringe in the UK and is the co-founder of the urban research and performance collective Dictaphone Group in Lebanon. 

Find out more about her works here.

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