3306 Museum in Baghdad Social 1440x1368px (No Red Strip)

Hannah Khalil's play explores what it means to try to create a nation – and why a country’s treasures matter when people are dying.

A story of treasured history, desperate choices and the remarkable Gertrude Bell

In 1926, the nation of Iraq is in its infancy, and British archaeologist Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Baghdad. In 2006, Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the museum after looting during the war.

Decades apart, these two women share the same goals: to create a fresh sense of unity and nationhood, to make the world anew through the museum and its treasures. But in such unstable times, questions remain. Who is the museum for? Whose culture are we preserving? And why does it matter when people are dying?

A Museum in Baghdad played in the Swan Theatre as part of the 2019/20 winter season.

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David Birrell - Professor Leonard Woolley
Houda Echouafni - Layla Hassan
Emma Fielding - Gertrude Bell
Ali Gadema - Kidnapper / Prime Minister
Rendah Heywood - Ghalia Hussein
Zed Josef - Salim
Nadi Kemp-Sayfi - Nasiya
Debbie Korley - Sam York
Riad Richie - Mohammed Abdullah
Rasoul Saghir - Abu Zaman


Writer Hannah Khalil | Director Erica Whyman | Designer Tom Piper | Lighting Charles Balfour | Music and Sound Oğuz Kaplangı | Movement Tanushka Marah | Dramaturgs David Greig and Pippa Hill | Video Nina Dunn

Download the full list of cast and creatives