The Hijabi Monologues Netherlands production in 2012-15 brought together a fantastic mix of women, Muslim and non-Muslim, from all walks of life and multiple cultural backgrounds.
In 2012 Rajae El Mouhandiz was approached by the British Council to attend the European premiere of The Hijabi Monologues in Dublin, together with a larger group of EU based participants. Later on a series of meetings were held with the American team behind The Hijabi Monologues in Dublin and Brussels, with the request to develop a local version of the theatre production. Rajae took on the adventure and invested her full grant given by the British Council to pay for the fundraising of a dutch version. British Council also sponsored the initial Dutch production meetings with the partners, artistic and production team.
In 2013 the production kicked off, supported by Dutch partners Theater Zuidplein and initiator/artistic director Rajae El Mouhandiz, in partnership with the British Council. Followed on from a series of auditions and workshops which took place in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. These included three generations of Dutch Muslim women auditioning together for the first time at the Amsterdam School of the Arts.
Over a year in the planning, those taking part brought with them a wealth of experience in the arts, others in business, education or health. Some studying Masters degrees, others illiterate or unemployed. But common to all was a tireless enthusiasm for the Hijabi Monologues and a strong desire to be involved and to share their own stories.
The Hijabi Monologues Netherlands consists of several monologues by and about Islamic women and who wear a hijab (headscarf) in daily life. The monologues are based on true stories of women with different cultural backgrounds. All stories take place in the Netherlands. The stories inspire, touch, amaze, motivate, make you think, make you laugh, cry and air. Because of its recognisability, but also because it sheds a different light on the current image of Muslim women in many media and art and cultural expressions. During the Hijabi Monologues Netherlands experience, being a woman was celebrated in all its facets.
Hijabi Monologues was originally developed in the United States in 2006 after an idea by Sahar Ullah (also creative director), Zeenat Rahman and Dan Morrison. During the world tour, this successful show was produced by Avery Willis Hoffmann (www.HijabiMonologues.com).
Hijabi Monologues The Netherlands has received much media attention in 2014 and 2015. Attention was paid to this during, among other things Trouw, Pauw, DWDD, IKONHUIS and on Radio 5. The Theaterkrant also wrote an amazing review about the show and there was plenty of tweeting about it. Fonds Cultuurparticipatie nominated the production for the Gouden C award. On Monday, May 18, 2015, Hijabi Monologues Netherlands was played for the very last time in Theater Dakota, The Hague. This evening a live registration was recorded by NPO Spirit.