THEM – a tale of war, loss and the risks we’re willing to take for a better future

THEM embarks on its first national tour in 2021, coming to Riverlinks Westside on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 August 2021,

Based on the real-life stories of people displaced by conflict, THEM follows one young family as they face the decision whether to flee their war-torn city. Omar, Leila and their young child are counting down the days. Their friends enjoy fantasies of escape and the arrival of Omar’s sister brings a real chance to get out – but at what cost?

Developed in consultation with people living in conflict zones and displaced by war, the play was first supported by Melbourne Theatre Company before enjoying a sell-out extended season at La Mama Theatre.

Seeking refuge and coming to terms with the effects of displacement is a subject that is deeply relevant to writer, Samah Sabawi as the award-winning Palestinian playwright and her family were exiled in the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967. Her experience connects her with the rest of the cast who hail from a range of countries that have been affected by political turmoil.

THEM is a tragicomedy about love, honour and sacrifice in times of violence and war. It follows the lives of five young people and explores the impossible decisions they have to make in the days before a refugee boat sails from their shores to Europe,” said Samah Sabawi.

“I sat down and started imagining what life would have been like for the asylum seekers before they boarded the boats. I was already familiar with the impact of war on ordinary people, especially on women and children in Palestine and in Syria, but when I started writing, my characters refused to be bound to a specific region.

“I believe this is because people react to war and violence almost in the same way, the same bravery, the same heroism, the same brutal need to survive no matter where they are, what colour their skin is or what ethnicity they belong to. From here the title of the play was born. Simply ‘THEM’."

Riverlinks Venues Manager Ken Cameron said the performance showed a deep compassion and powerfully articulated despair.

THEM is a play with heart that compels us to sit up and listen, suspend prejudices and feel the anguish of these characters fighting to survive in a city shattered by senseless war.”

Tickets are available in person, online or through the Riverlinks Box Office on 03 5832 9511. For the full selection of shows on offer, visit