Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

When Adam’s parents relocated the family to Dubai, Adam grew up in a religious Muslim household with American cable television, going to a British school in a Gulf state where over 90% of the population were migrant workers. This upbringing at the cross-section of cultures is at the core of the artist Adam is.

Today, Adam is a writer, theater maker, and dramaturg committed to telling stories from...
When Adam’s parents relocated the family to Dubai, Adam grew up in a religious Muslim household with American cable television, going to a British school in a Gulf state where over 90% of the population were migrant workers. This upbringing at the cross-section of cultures is at the core of the artist Adam is.

Today, Adam is a writer, theater maker, and dramaturg committed to telling stories from communities that have been historically under and misrepresented on American television screens and stages. Adam’s writing for theater and TV interrogates the intersections of queerness, immigration, and colonialism. His plays (including Memorial, Jamestown/ Williamsburg, Revelation and Drowning in Cairo) have been developed and seen at The Lark, The Tisch School of the Arts, The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and Golden Thread Productions. Adam is a Co-founder of The Criminal Queerness Festival with National Queer Theater, and a fellow at Georgetown University's Laboratory for Global Performance. He holds a BA in Theater with an emphasis in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from NYU Abu Dhabi and is an MFA Candidate in Playwriting at Brooklyn College.

When not reading and writing plays and pilots, you can probably find Adam scrolling through social media and “the apps,” hosting charcuterie brunches, or watching bad reality TV with his chosen family in their Harlem apartment.

Plays

  • Revelation
    When a national scandal erupts revealing a string of “discreet hookups” with underage boys from Grindr, Michael, a megachurch celebrity pastor, is confronted by Brandon, his long-estranged son he forced into conversion therapy as a teenager. Revelation is the story of a queer father and son reconciling their disparate narratives of an abusive past. Can they find forgiveness and attempt to move forward?
  • Drowning in Cairo
    It is May 2001 in Cairo. Moody, Khalid, and their servant Taha are on the Queen Boat, a gay nightclub docked on the Nile. When an unexpected police raid results in the arrest and public humiliation of the attendees, the lives of these young men are altered forever. Drowning in Cairo weaves budding romances, class differences, and familial expectations into a loving portrait of three men who all struggle to...
    It is May 2001 in Cairo. Moody, Khalid, and their servant Taha are on the Queen Boat, a gay nightclub docked on the Nile. When an unexpected police raid results in the arrest and public humiliation of the attendees, the lives of these young men are altered forever. Drowning in Cairo weaves budding romances, class differences, and familial expectations into a loving portrait of three men who all struggle to rebuild their lives against all odds.
  • Memorial
    Memorial is a verbatim play that tells the story of the Christchurch Muslim community during and following the two mosque shootings that occurred on March 15th in Christchurch, New Zealand using embodied rituals and practices. Memorial chronicles the impact of the shootings, and systems of violence, through the words and experiences of seven citizens of Christchurch, focusing on the friends and families of...
    Memorial is a verbatim play that tells the story of the Christchurch Muslim community during and following the two mosque shootings that occurred on March 15th in Christchurch, New Zealand using embodied rituals and practices. Memorial chronicles the impact of the shootings, and systems of violence, through the words and experiences of seven citizens of Christchurch, focusing on the friends and families of those who were lost in the attacks. It also deeply engages with themes of migration, diaspora and the experience of otherness and xenophobia both within and outside communities.

    This is a co-written piece with my friend and collaborator, Arianna Stucki
  • Jamestown/Williamsburg
    It is 2019 and Diyala just moved from Syria to Williamsburg, Virginia on a student visa. It is also 1619 and Agnes just married the Lord of the Virginia Company in Jamestown, who happens to be sleeping with a Native American man. Agnes and Diyala are worlds apart, yet, what secrets are both of these women bringing with them to their new lives? What’s that kinship that binds them in a world that defies the...
    It is 2019 and Diyala just moved from Syria to Williamsburg, Virginia on a student visa. It is also 1619 and Agnes just married the Lord of the Virginia Company in Jamestown, who happens to be sleeping with a Native American man. Agnes and Diyala are worlds apart, yet, what secrets are both of these women bringing with them to their new lives? What’s that kinship that binds them in a world that defies the logics of time and space? Jamestown/Williamsburg tells the story of the voyages and traumas of two immigrant women.
  • The Bug
    When Mona and Dalia, two first-generation Egyptian-American girls on the precipice of adolescence, realize their mom is planning on "cutting them down there like girls do back home", they get together in the middle of the night and plot to flee their home. Their conversation reveals their family dynamic, their relationship to their homeland, and the tension between the immigrant parents and their children.
  • The New Mr. Leather
    Arthur has done his research. He's seen the videos from every Mr. Leather contest in the last two decades; It's a drunken Tuesday night and he's decided that he's just over the patriarchy and all those Tom of Finland doppelganger. He's going to the leather bar tonight to topple the institution of kink on its head.
  • The House of Grandma Hanem
    The House of Grandma Hanem tells the story of gay yet closeted Sherif who starts a pro-science, pro-human rights Youtube Vlog in conservative-Muslim Cairo, Egypt. When his Vlog goes viral, Sherif leaves his family with the decision to denounce one of their own, or support him and shame the name of the family. Simultaneously, his cousin, Sara, faces a question of faith and attempts to reconcile her understanding...
    The House of Grandma Hanem tells the story of gay yet closeted Sherif who starts a pro-science, pro-human rights Youtube Vlog in conservative-Muslim Cairo, Egypt. When his Vlog goes viral, Sherif leaves his family with the decision to denounce one of their own, or support him and shame the name of the family. Simultaneously, his cousin, Sara, faces a question of faith and attempts to reconcile her understanding of religion when she falls in love with the secular, white German study abroad student in her university in Egypt.