Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

Adam A. Elsayigh is a playwright, translator, producer, and independent scholar residing between Cairo and New York. Through his playwriting (The House of Grandma Hanem, Drowning in Cairo, and Ramadan on 42nd Street) and curatorial initiatives, Adam interrogates issues of immigration, colonialism and the experience of queerness in the Middle East. Adam developed The House of Grandma Hanem in NYU Abu Dhabi, and...
Adam A. Elsayigh is a playwright, translator, producer, and independent scholar residing between Cairo and New York. Through his playwriting (The House of Grandma Hanem, Drowning in Cairo, and Ramadan on 42nd Street) and curatorial initiatives, Adam interrogates issues of immigration, colonialism and the experience of queerness in the Middle East. Adam developed The House of Grandma Hanem in NYU Abu Dhabi, and later at Theater For The New City in New York. He then developed Drowning in Cairo, through workshops in Bangalore, Abu Dhabi and New York, and recently presented it with the Golden Threads Theater in San Francisco as a part of their New Threads reading series.
Adam is an Associate International Artist with National Queer Theatre and is currently workshopping his upcoming play, Ramadan on 43rd Street. Adam holds a BA in Theater with emphasis on Playwriting, Dramaturgy and World Theater from NYU Abu Dhabi. He is a PhD candidate at The Graduate Centre in the City University of New York, and an Artistic Apprentice at The Lark Center for Play Development.

Plays

  • Jamestown/Williamsburg
    Jamestown/Williamsburg tells the story of the voyages and traumas of two immigrant women, Diyala and Agnes. The former came to Virginia on a student visa in 2019, and the latter was a mail-order bride to Jamestown in 1619, with an elaborate plan to rule the new world. Diyala is in a green card marriage with her husband Ibrahim, seeking a path to American citizenship. Agnes is married to the Lord of the 1619...
    Jamestown/Williamsburg tells the story of the voyages and traumas of two immigrant women, Diyala and Agnes. The former came to Virginia on a student visa in 2019, and the latter was a mail-order bride to Jamestown in 1619, with an elaborate plan to rule the new world. Diyala is in a green card marriage with her husband Ibrahim, seeking a path to American citizenship. Agnes is married to the Lord of the 1619 Virginia Company, who happens to be sleeping with a Native American man.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ramadan on West 43rd Street
    Ramadan on West 43rd Street tells the story of Sherif, an Egyptian asylum seeker turned celebrated playwright who moved to New York four years ago after facing criminal charges in Egypt for his homosexuality. When Sherif’s distant mother Maggie has to visit New York for stage-four cancer treatment, Sherif, his mother, his partner, and his mother’s snarky, religious nurse are forced to contend with each other in...
    Ramadan on West 43rd Street tells the story of Sherif, an Egyptian asylum seeker turned celebrated playwright who moved to New York four years ago after facing criminal charges in Egypt for his homosexuality. When Sherif’s distant mother Maggie has to visit New York for stage-four cancer treatment, Sherif, his mother, his partner, and his mother’s snarky, religious nurse are forced to contend with each other in a particularly hungry summer that coincides with Ramadan. The result is a tragic loss. Ramadan on West 43rd Street chronicles the immigrant experience from four unique cases and examines the tensions different immigrants have among themselves and how they navigate their new homes as a foreign space based on the identities they bring with them.
  • 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.