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Beyond the Veil

Lifting the veil off theatre

Beyond the Veil YouTube Channel 

Wow, can you believe there's 17 videos on our YouTube Channel? Pretty awesome! So if you haven't watched any (or all) of our productions... what are you waiting for????

Beyond the Veil at Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2019

A record breaking 5 plays this year.  SO proud of the effort put in by everybody. 

Shiny Sharp Shows 

5 plays, 8 characters, 7 actors, 3 directors, 1 theatre company. Beyond the Veil is proud to stage its’ 8th production, Shiny Sharp Shows, our 3rd one-act play festival – a selection of monologues and duologues. exploring the nature of relationships.  

Beyond the Veil Videos

Our YouTube Channel has been updated, so you can either check out the videos of our show there or on our "Productions' page. 

Resuscitation and Beyond

Production week is here... which of course means Opening Night is looming.  Resuscitation and Beyond is a collaborative production between the two Abu Dhabi theatre companies, Resuscitation Theatre and Beyond the Veil.  It's a one-act play festival featuring work penned by company members.  Here's the lineup...

Our Upcoming Production:

Emirates Writer's Union

The Emirates Writer's Union is on the first floor of the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi.  This is our venue for The Stores Are Now Open.  

Beyond the Veil at Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2018

Writer: Angeleene Abraham 

Director: Angeleene Abraham

Cast: Angeleene Abraham

Synopsis: Too many choices… left or right… yes or no… too many choices until you realise, you never really had a choice!

Writer: Martin Fry 

Director: Ellen Abraham-Williams

Cast: Mary O’Sullivan (Virginia); Craig Kelly (Rory); Gerard Fee (Bob)

Synopsis: When 'the worst didn't happen' and the world didn't end,, there's 'lots of things to discuss'...

SIX New Albums on the Photo Spread Page

Second Auditions 

10th September. 
We need additional cast members for our upcoming play, The Stores are Now Open.
Come to the EMIRATES WRITERS UNION at 7:30 tonight to audition for the remaining parts.
Emirates Writer's Union, National Theatre (behind Al Jazeera Stadium).
If you're interested but can't make it, PM me.



This Wednesday (30th August) at 8:00pm at Cultural Centre at The National Theatre. 

This is Saleh Karama Al Ameri's latest play - fresh off the press and never performed before.    
Everybody is welcome.


Our next production.... four plays for the price of one!


So here's our YouTube Channel... with our last four productions uploaded.  

That sounds a lot worse than it is... three of those productions were for Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2017, so I haven't been THAT slack! 

Next job... uploading the photos from the Beyond the Veil Short+Sweet entries. 

(2nd February, 2017)

Beyond the Veil Awards at Short+Sweet

Beyond the Veil at Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2017

Our Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2017 Entries...

For the Love of... H

Writers: Zakaia Cvitanovich and Angeleene Abraham (Abu Dhabi)

Director: Angeleene Abraham 

Cast: Ro Gilbert, Magy George, Sally O’Neill, Katy McCants Floyd, Josephine Kenyon-Blair, Audrey Brinkley

Synopsis: People love for many different reasons. But love is never easy... especially when there are more than two people in the equation.

Adopt or What?

Writers: Zakaia Cvitanovich and Sanoop Dinesh (Abu Dhabi)

Director: Sanoop Dinesh (Independent Theatre Company: Beyond the Veil)

Cast: Ro Gilbert (Advika), Sanoop Dinesh (Samar)

Synopsis: A couple, under tremendous pressure to procreate, discuss alternative ways of starting a family. But will their parents be satisfied? Are they ready to start a family?

Utopian Hope

Writer: Alberto Crespo Iniesta (Spain)

Director: Gautam Marathe

Cast: Adithya Thomas (Utopo), Faris Iftikhar (Eido), (Narrator)

Synopsis: While waiting for a train, two men discuss the meaning of life and what is wrong with society. More questions remain unanswered than answered.

More Words...

While we didn't end up performing in Dubai as originally planned.  This show was an amazing experience for me.  I had SO MUCH fun directing this incredibly wonderful cast.  Each actor brought something unique to the production and were a pleasure to work with. 

(14th January, 2017)

A VERY Brief Look at More Words...

Written in 2015, More Words is a psychological probe into the universal concepts of family, loyalty and duty.
Fayyad keeps exotic animals but his aid, Sundos, is the one who puts her life on the line to care for them. Abu Nofal is looking forward to the return of his son, but it doesn’t quite work out the way he’s expecting, much to Um Nofal’s dismay. A drought has everybody on edge, including the nomads, animals and pirates. Yes… there are pirates too.

MORE WORDS... our upcoming show

Very excited to announce that for the first time we're taking a Beyond the Veil production on the road... Yep, we'll be performing in Dubai as well as the capital.

The Arabic version of the play is being directed by Amir Daou with a Dubai cast.  And I just know they're going to be fantastic.  

The same play in two languages and probably with a very different vision.

(5 November, 2016)

2nd, 3rd and 4th Rehearsals

To see more photos of our first four rehearsals, go to the Photo Spread page.

(8th October, 2016)

Our first read through...

As per Beyond the Veil tradition, our first read through was at Cafe Arabia.

(18th September, 2016)

Alms for the Poor in DOHA

Saleh Karama Al Ameri's play, Alms for the Poor, is being performed in Doha, directed by a friend from my hometown, Blenheim . This was Beyond the Veil's second production and it's a GREAT play. All the best Naomi Barton on what I know will be a super show.

(15th September, 2016)

Our New CAST...

SO happy to be working with these guys.  What a talented cast I've got... makes my job easy!

(14th September, 2016)

More Changes A Foot...

We have a venue., YEAH, but now...

As it has been rightly pointed out to me that Saturday is Eid Al Adha, the Saturday audition has been cancelled.

(4th September, 2016)

It's that time again...

Unfortunately our venue has fallen through so we're busy trying to find another place.  Keep an eye on the website and FB page.

Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2017

Dear friends,

After our very successful inaugural Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi, the second Festival is all set for the Black Box at the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre on the weekend of January 20th and 21st, 2017.

In preparation for the Festival we’ll be having a briefing for writers, directors, theatre companies and actors from 7.30pm on Monday 28th November at Café Arabia, located on 15th Street between Airport Road and Karamah, opposite Al Mushrif Children’s Park.

Immediately after the briefing, we'll hold the auditions for Actors!

Can you please RSVP to this email to let us know that you are able to attend on the 28th November? THANK YOU!

On the night you’ll find out all the details of participating in the festival including performance dates and times and information about the all-important technical rehearsals. And if you’re looking for actors for your play you’ll also be able to cast actors from the auditions taking place immediately after the briefing.

So we look forward to seeing you on Monday 28th November at 7.30pm at Café Arabia. Remember RSVP to let us know you are able to come along. And if you have any questions about Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi please feel free to ask me via return email (

AND if you know anyone who would like to be involved in Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi, or any actors who would like to audition, please feel free to forward this email on to them. We’d love to see them there on 28th November!

Zakaia Cvitanovich
Festival Director
Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi

(29th August, 2016)

Theatre and Accounting...

An interesting read about the financial side of theatre...

Face Value

As a small company, we're not in it for the money (thank goodness, otherwise we'd be heartbroken!).  But no money, means no shows! 

(29th August, 2016)

How Women in Theatre are Addressing Gender Inequality in the UAE

THRILLED to be part of Afshan Ahmed's interview for The National.  A subject dear to my own heart (the basis of my MATS dissertation), hence the incorporation of 'Ladies Nights' at all Beyond the Veil productions.  

(15th August, 2016)

New Videos...

To check out the new videos, go to the 'Productions' page. 

After Show Party...

Good food and good company... the perfect way to say goodbye to "Take the Ground".

(5th May, 2016)

Saleh Karama's Happy Place...

Saleh Karama Al Ameri was one of the 12 "biggest names on the UAE cultural scene" that The National interviewed inquiring about where they find happiness.

Gto this link to read about Saleh's happy place. 

Take the Ground in The National

Once again The National has been a huge source of support for Beyond the Veil.  With a small company like ours, the support of a local newspaper is invaluable, and I'd like to take the time to thank Afshan Ahmed for her help.

To read the article in The National, go to this link.  

Here's a snippet: 

The story unfolds using minimalistic sets, focusing on the chemistry between the characters, with the actors in some scenes resorting to freestyle movements – they may suddenly pretend to be animals, for example. “We call this ‘chimping’," says Cvitanovich. “It is an absurdist play, so there are times when our director tells us to act primal, our emotions take over and we become almost animal-­like. We termed the movement that comes from this ‘chimping’. It takes the story forward."

(20th April 2016)

Cast Change

We have a new cast member... A BIG welcome to Derick Downing who joined the cast last Wednesday.  

So the cast, from left to right: Magy, Derick, Zakaia, Craig and Ro.  Ange certainly has her hands full!

Remember, we open on April 20th, with our regular Ladies Night on Friday 22nd.  

(5th April, 2016)

Take the Ground Publicity Shots

The publicity shots for the Press Release.  Of course this means opening night is getting closer...

(24th March 2016)

Take the Ground - 20th March Rehearsal

Our next play...

So what's this play about?

It's a play about fear.  Saleh wrote it in 2009 and it's essentially about how paralyzing fear can be.

It's Saleh's most absurd play, so for those of you who like Beckett, this will appeal to you.  

In true Beyond the Veil fashion, we've added our particular brand of bizarre!  

(25 February 2016)

Take the Ground Rehearsals

For more photos, turn to the Photo Spread page.

(8th February 2016)

And the Award Goes to...

Beyond the Veil was SO PROUD to have two cast members received awards.

As a new company, we weren't expecting to get any awards for our first production so it was all shades of AWESOME.  

Best Actor: Ahmad Hassan

Best Supporting Actress: Kathleen Moran.  

(7-9th February 2016) 

Rehearsals have begun...

On the heels of the last play, we've now started rehearsals for our next major production, Take the Ground by Saleh Karama Al Ameri, with Angeleene Abraham at the helm.  

(31 January 2016) 

Abu Dhabi's Two Theatre Companies...

This is what it's about...

Resuscitation Theatre and Beyond the Veil together after the Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2016 awards.  

It's so important for us to support each other - if we don't, other people won't.  

(24th January, 2016)

Beyond the Veil's Short+Sweet

So proud of the Beyond the Veil effort in the inaugural Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi. 

We had two entries:

  • Rucking Good Time: 
Sanoop Dinesh (director), Rob Reader, Ray Cunningham, Adithya Thomas Prakash, and Stephen Tofts 
  • Love Diplomats: 
Angeleene Abraham (director) and Zakaia Cvitanovich)

Nominated for:
Best Newcomer (Adithya Thomas Prakash, Sanoop Din);
Best Script (Rucking Good Time);
Best Director (Sanoop Din);
Best Actor (Rob Reader; Stephen Tofts);
Best Production (Love Diplomats). 

Best Independent Theatre Company.

(23rd January, 2016)

What a Good Time, Rucking Good Time was...

These photos are from the TECH Rehearsal on the 22nd January at the incredible  Arts Centre at NYUAD. 

As a playwright, it's SO incredibly satisfying seeing your work come to life.  I would like to thank Sanoop for doing such a GREAT job directing Rucking Good Time. 

For more photos, turn to the Photo Spread page.

(24th January 2016)

Rucking Good Time - 18th January Rehearsal

The final rehearsal before the festival...

For more photos, turn to the Photo Spread page.

(16th January 2016)

Rucking Good Time - 15th January Rehearsal

For more photos, turn to the Photo Spread page.

(16th January 2016)

Sanoop in Action...

Short and Sweet - 13th Jan Rehearsals

For more photos, turn to the Photo Spread page.

(14th January 2016)

Take the Ground Auditions...

Craig and Ahmed were two of the people who turned up for the auditions for the next show.  And they did an awesome job.  

(13th January 2016)

AUDITIONS for our next production...

This is Saleh Karama Al Ameri's latest play and our production will be the world premier.  

We're staging it on 23rd, 24th, 30th and 31st March.  Quite a different season for us... but if there's one thing Beyond the Veil has become known for, it's trying new things! We will be having another Ladies Night but the actual date hasn't been decided yet.  

Angeleene Abraham will be directing this play and she's rearing to go.  

You do not need to bring anything to the audition, but it would pay to wear clothing you can move in.  

And here's a map to the venue.  

Remember to email us on to book in for an audition.

(9th January 2016)

Rehearsals for RUCKING GOOD TIME

For more photos, turn to the Photo Spread page.

(7th January 2016)

Beyond the Veil's SHORT+SWEET - Entry 2

Beyond the Veil's SHORT+SWEET - Entry 1 

Theatre Roles...

LOVE this image... I think it REALLY sums up the jobs involved in staging a play.

Notice the number of jobs there are BEHIND the scenes!!!

(18th December, 2015)

BtV Short+Sweet Entries

I'm pleased to say that BtV has cast both plays...

Play: 1
Writer: Zakaia Cvitanovich
Director: Sanoop Dinesh
Actors: Robert Reader, Ray Cunningham, Stephen Tofts, Adithya Thomas Prakash and Juzbi Walia.

Play: 2
Writer: Ramirez

Director: Angeleene Abraham
Actors: Angeleene Abraham and Zakaia Cvitanovich.

(18 December, 2015)


Dear actors,

Hope you are well!

Thanks for registering to act at Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2016! All the information on the auditions is below. Please let me know a time you'd like to come along and audition and I will confirm it with you. (PLEASE NOTE: Auditions are only available between 8pm to 10.30pm on Monday December 7th. You must specify an audition time between these times.)

The auditions for Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi will be held from 8pm to 10.30pm on Monday December 7th at Café Arabia, located on 15th Street between 2nd/Airport Road and 24th/Karamah, opposite Al Mushrif Children’s Park. ( Please let me know a time you'd like to come along and audition by return email and I will confirm it with you.

At the audition you will need to perform a one-two minute monologue. You can choose your own or use one of the selection attached. Please make sure your audition piece is no longer than 2 minutes.You may perform a piece you have performed before. You do not need to learn a new piece just for the auditions. (PLEASE NOTE: If you don’t have time to learn a piece you can read something on the night, but learning a piece is PREFERRED and will make a better impression on the Festival Directors.)

You will need to bring a hard copy of a recent photo and your Acting Biog on the day. Please DO NOT BRING ORIGINALS, as these will not be returned. (PLEASE NOTE: YOU NEED TO BRING THESE even if you emailed them to us. We need hard copies. Thank you!)

Your actual audition will only take between 5 to 10 minutes but there may be some waiting time so please allow 30 minutes to one hour for your audition. And please arrive at least fifteen minutes before your allotted audition time.


If you know anyone who would still like to register for an audition registrations are still open. Please get them to email me at  to request an audition.

The first ever Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi will take place at the Black Box at the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre on the weekend of January 22nd and 23rd, 2016.

Please email Alex at

I look forward to working with you on Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi and seeing you at the auditions.

Alex Broun
Festival Director
Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2016

Alex Broun | Artistic Director - Writer | Constellation Dubai | + 971 4 438 5574 | +971 52 837 0405

1002 Al Thuraya Tower 1, Dubai Media City 29070, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

(29th November, 2015)

And onto the NEXT PROJECT... Short+Sweet

Short+Sweet are coming to Abu Dhabi.  And if you want to be part of the first EVER Short+Sweet festival here, either send us a message on our FB page or email us (

What is Short+Sweet?

It's the largest 10-minute play festival in the world.  Something you don't want to miss being part of.  

(27th November, 2015)

Alms for the Poor - Cast and Crew

And finally it's over.  It takes an enormous amount of work to put on a show and the adrenaline takes you through your tiredness to the closing performance.  

You really get to know those you're working with - while  there's a lot of places to hide on stage (behind masks, characters etc.) there isn't as many during the rehearsal period.  

I'm a hard task-master.  I have high expectations and I expect those expectations to be met.  I don't like staging anything shoddy.  I believe, that if you expect the audience to pay for a ticket (no matter how much the ticket costs), they deserve the best show you're capable of giving.  And to me, it makes no difference if you're a professional troupe or if it's community theatre.  

The cast and crew of Alms for the Poor staged a very polished show.  Everybody was completely in the moment and gave 100%.  I very proud of the what they accomplished. 

Rob: You showed such a great range as an actor, physically, vocally and emotionally. I respect your work ethic and your dedication. It's been a pleasure to work with you.
Sanoop: You've come of age as an actor. You were superb. You showed such dedication and a willingness to learn. I take my hat off to you.
Muatasem: Wow... Your first show. You looked like a natural up there. I hope this is the beginning of your theatrical journey.
Fatima-Zahra: You really made the character your own. You brought a different side to Woman out which I got pleasure in watching.
Niels: Lookout became a stand-out character in the play. And this was because of you and your approach. Funny as anything!
Carlos: What a force to be reckoned with you are. Not only is your vocal work stunning but you also have a great physicality on stage. I'm looking forward to our next endeavour.?
Darko: Your understated interpretation of the character provided such a nice contrast to the other beggars. And let's not forget your incredible ability to learn lines! It was a pleasure to work with you.
Ray: You rocked that song. You've got such a great on-stage persona. I particularly enjoyed watching the development of your onstage relationships.
Nagham: For one so young, you have a great theatre intuition. You maintained the 'listening pause' so well. This showed such confidence. I'm looking forward to working with you again.
Khristene: I simply loved watching your attitude on stage. Offstage, you were a massive support and I'll always be thankful for that.
Ahmad: You have such a great stage presence - and this is a very valuable thing to possess. Your vocals are going from strength to strength.

Ange: Thank you for your support. You were a rock. Your advice and support were invaluable to me. Thank you for being you.
Layla: You are such a great choreographer, I am in awe of your ability. Once again, it was absolute pleasure to work with you.
Ahmed: Amazing lighting. But not only were you amazing at designing the lighting, but your problem solving skills were also a lifesaver.
Jim: You weren't with us long, but boy you made a difference. Thank you so much for being part of the team.
Laura: Thank you for being such a help and designing such an awesome poster at such short notice. You are such an asset to Abu Dhabi.

And of course, Saleh. Thank you so much for entrusting your play to us. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to work with you.

(22nd November, 2015)


Alms for the Poor - Closing Night (21/11/15)

It was simply wonderful to end the season on a high.  Tonight's show was slick. Cues were good and the technical side of the play went with a hitch.

It was great to see people from the Abu Dhabi Choral Group in the audience. We really appreciated their support.  

(21st November, 2015)

Alms for the Poor - 3rd Performance (20/11/15)

Another good turn out for the play.  My sister and brother-in-law drove from Muscat to see the play, so I was very appreciative of that.  

(20th November, 2015)

Alms for the Poor - Ladies Night (19/11/15)

'Ladies night' was going to be a gamble from the start.  I didn't expect a large audience, but in fact, more came than I expected.  Despite the smaller number in the audience, it was a good show, with all actors on top of their cues. 

(19th November, 2015)

Alms for the Poor - Opening Night (18/11/15)

We had a GREAT opening night.  We had a wonderful audience, in number and in attitude.  The play went excellently, and although there were a couple of technical 'teething problems', everything ran like clockwork.  

(18th November, 2015)

It's finally here...

It most certainly is...

Our opening night is finally here.  It's quite surreal really.  After working on the play for so long, it's a strange feeling that my part is finally over.  

The cast and crew have been GREAT.  Such a talented bunch of people.  I've been blessed to have been able to work with them.  

Come to the show...

It's gonna be AWESOME. 

Director Zakaia Cvitanovich on Directing Saleh Karama Al Ameri's play in English

This article was in The National last night too... here's the link. 

Zakaia Cvitanovich snaps her fingers and her voice rings out in the hall.

“You’ve got to be snappier,” she says as she begins clapping her hands, gradually allowing the rhythm to pick up speed. “Come on, come on, let’s go, snappier.” The dialogue on stage picks up and Cvitanovich nods in approval.

It’s the dress rehearsal for Saleh Karama Al Ameri’s Alms for the Poor, a

play originally written in Arabic and set to debut its English performance

under the directorial baton of Cvitanovich, the founder of the Beyond the

Veil theatre company.

This is the company’s second production – in March, they began with Al

Ameri’s The Great Redeemer – and the third Al Ameri play Cvitanovich has

directed in English. “It’s really exciting as a director to get an original play,

especially considering how generous Saleh is as a playwright, because he

allows the director’s vision to be realised on stage,” she says.

Where The Great Redeemer reminded Cvitanovich a little bit of

Shakespeare, Alms for the Poor, she says, has something of playwright

Samuel Beckett’s touch about it.

“It’s amazing to me how much Saleh can capture in his writing,” she says.

“His plays can be set anywhere, in any culture, at any time, and how like

Shakespeare’s work, his plays are essentially about the human spirit.”

After moving to the UAE 10 years ago, New Zealander Cvitanovich never

stopped pursuing her passion for the theatre. By day, she works at the Abu

Dhabi University as an English instructor and by night, she takes to the

stage, whether through her work with the Abu Dhabi Choral Group, the

Resuscitation Theatre, or her recent launch of her selffunded

company Beyond the Veil, which seeks to further the local performing arts

scene and to tap Emirati talent.

“Once you get bitten by the theatre bug, you can’t get enough,” she

explains, “and that’s also the case for the cast and crew of this play. I’ve

worked with most of them before, and I am always hopeful of bringing in

more people, because what happens when we all leave? The UAE is very

transient, and there has to be someone to take over from where we’ve left


As part of the company regeneration plans, Beyond the Veil’s cast and

crew are urged to try their hand at directing, as an experimental change.

“We will do a couple of little plays in the Short +Sweet Theatre festival

when it comes to Abu Dhabi next year,” Cvitanovich says, referring to the

multitude of 10 minute plays that make up the festival, which is usually held

in Dubai but will make its Abu Dhabi debut in 2016. “I hope my actors will

try their hand at directing then.”

As the dress rehearsal wraps up and the cast erupt in song, Cvitanovich

strides up and down the area in front of the stage: “Smile. Enjoy it. I want

to see smiles,” she calls out. The hope, now, is that come tonight the

audience will be smiling as well. 

Emirati Playwright Saleh Karama Al Ameri is a Man of Many Words

This wonderful article was in last night's edition of The National: here's the link.

For Emirati playwright Saleh Karama Al Ameri, life is a symphony.

“My job is to listen and observe, then to interpret and let my imagination run with the stories,” he says. “I am not society’s conductor, but I want to be the one that listens well and forces others to hear this piece of music.” 

Al Ameri has been listening for 15 years, and his views on society have become immortalised in 17 Arabiclanguage plays examining subjects ranging from human nature and the power of appearances, to the danger of adhering to the status quo and the value of human life. 

“I am interested in human nature and I like to think philosophically; that’s how I write,” he says. “The pieces of the plays are all different, but the cornerstone is the human, so the plays are universal.”

Non-Arabic speakers will get a chance to enjoy one of his stories when his

sociopolitical drama, Alms for the Poor, has its first staging in English from

tonight until Saturday at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi.

The 2013 drama, produced by Abu Dhabi-based theatre company Beyond

the Veil, was written during a particularly prolific time for Al Ameri – it was

one of five plays reflecting the societal changes happening in the region in

the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

The idea for Alms for the Poor, Al Ameri explains, first presented itself in a

cafe in Morocco in 2007. 

“I was sitting in a beautiful, old cafe in Al Jadida, having some tea, when I saw a beggar come by,” he says, “I gave him a bit of money, and he said to me that it was too much. I told him it’s OK, take it, and then I saw him sit at one of the cafe’s tables and try to order a coffee. The waiter refused to serve him and kicked him out, and that just stayed in my head and grew.”

Alms for the Poor is the seventh of Al Ameri’s plays to be translated into

English. Three of them were directed by Zakaia Cvitanovich, founder of the

Beyond the Veil theatre company Al Ameri says that Cvitanovich is the perfect director to stage his plays in English.

“Zakaia understands me, I always trust my work in her hands,” he says,

after watching the dress rehearsal for Alms for the Poor last week. “Zakaia

has an incredible imagination – it’s different. A playwright is always worried.

The play is like my child, and I was worried how it will be interpreted, but

Zakaia gets me.” His worry now is whether the audience will, in turn,

understand what he is trying to say.

“When I write, I don’t do it to make my philosophy or message clear and

out there. It’s hidden. It needs to be unearthed.”

Westerners, says Al Ameri, seem to appreciate his plays more than Arabs.

“I feel like I am only recently becoming appreciated and respected in the

Arab world,” he says. “But westerners and Europeans have been

interested in my plays for much longer. I don’t know why.”

It’s a pity, he says, because when his plays are read and performed in the

Arabic language, they have far more substance.

“The Arabic language is majestic, magical,” he says. “My messages are

stronger in Arabic and my first love is theatre in Arabic.”

Al Ameri’s love affair with the theatre began at an early age. He cofounded

the Etihad Theatre in Abu Dhabi in 1977 and has done everything from

cleaning to working backstage on lighting and sets to acting in plays and

directing them.

“It was my life,” he says. “I wasn’t ashamed of doing anything for the

theatre. I even sold tickets and gave out pamphlets when we had a


This month, Al Ameri’s plays have been published – in Arabic – in an

anthology of his work, The Plays of Saleh Karama, edited by Dr Jawad AlAssadi.

“Jawad is my mentor, my teacher,” he says. “He is a director as

well, and has taught me so much. He has chosen 13 or 14 of my plays and

published them in a book through the publishing house Dar Kanaan.” Only

1,000 copies of the anthologies have been printed, and Al Ameri will

distribute 200 of those to friends and family. He hopes to promote it at the

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair next year.

A proud father of eight, Al Ameri is perplexed that none of his children

caught the theatre bug. Then again, he understands such passion comes

at a price.

“I cannot force this younger generation into a life in the theatre,” he says.

“It’s a different world – you need to be ready to sell your soul to be a part

of it, you need to be OK with making no money and living poor as I have.

But this is what I have always wanted. I am convinced of the importance of

it, and I love it.”

• Alms for the Poor will be performed at the National Theatre, 17th

Street, Abu Dhabi, from tonight until Saturday. Tickets cost Dh50 for

adults and Dh25 for students. For more information email

The new play...

Beyond the Veil's latest production, Alms for the Poor, opens next Wednesday, 18th November.  This is the first staging of the play in English.  
The play itself is absurdest. In fact when I first read it, it reminded me of Beckett.  In true Beyond the Veil fashion, we've added our particular brand of bizarre - constantly breaking the forth wall, cellphone juggling, and Shakespeare, along with a bit of singing and movement.   As a social commentary, it's not at all preachy, but allows for self-reflection though comedy. However, the comedy does not detract from the poignant message of how the weaker members of society are treated. 

(9th November, 2015)


Season: 8:00pm Wednesday 18th - Saturday 21st November.


Tickets: AED 25 Students and AED 50 Adults

Door sales or reservations at

Venue: Lecture and Conference Hall, 1st Floor, Cultural Centre, The National Theatre, (opposite SkyNews Arabia) - see map above. 

(7th November, 2015)

This Week's Rehearsals 

A BIG week for rehearsals this week.  In addition to our regular Sunday, Monday and Wednesday rehearsals, we also had a 5-hour rehearsal on Friday.

But it's starting to look great.  We're ironing out the things needing to be ironed out and we're adding that all important polish.  

(7th November, 2015)

Rehearsal Photos...

To see the latest photos, go to the Photo Spread page. 

ALSO... there are new bios on the Cast and Crew page. 

(30th October, 2015)

Short+Sweet is coming to Abu Dhabi...

Be sure to register. 

(22nd October, 2015)

Another week of rehearsals...

Remember, just go to the 'Photo Spread' page.

ALSO... new BIOS on the 'Cast and Crew' page. 

(17th October, 2015)

More New Albums...

Just turn to the Photo Spread page.

(8th October, 2015)

New Albums on the Photo Spread Page...

(4th October, 2015)

BEYOND THE VEIL hits the Big Apple...

Just had to post this... 

Thanx Fatima-Zahra for taking Beyond the Veil with you to New York!

(3rd October, 2015)


We are looking for some Arabic speaking actors (male preferably but would consider female) to work on a 3 month project starting on the 11th October. 

Each actor would need to learn around 15 scenarios and play the parts outlined in each.   

You would need to be able to work during the day (7.30am to 3pm – Sunday to Thursday).  

For further details contact: Zakaia Cvitanovich, 

(29th September 2015)


VERY pleased to announce the cast for the upcoming Beyond the Veil production, 'Alms for the Poor'.  

Qen - Rob Reader
Waiter - Sanoop Dinesh
Lookout - Faisal Jadir
Man - Muatasem Alshaibi
Woman - Fatima-Zahra El Habachi
Passerby Three - Steve Tofts

Ahmad Jassim
Carlos Paez
Kristene Astoriano
Nagham Ariqat
Liza Ramos
Uma Yal
Fiona Jagose
Director - Zakaia Cvitanovich
Assistant Director - Angeline Abraham

Rehearsals start this coming week and the season will be from 18th -21st November, 2015. 

(12th September, 2015)


It's that time again...
The second production for Beyond the Veil is another Saleh Karama Al Ameri play, Alms for the Poor.   This will be the English premier of the play. This play will be a unique night at the theatre incorporating movement, Shakespeare, Queen, ducks and death!
Auditions: 5th (2-4pm) and 6th (7-9pm) September, 2015.
Season: 18th - 21st November, 2015.  
Venue: Conference and Lecture Hall, MCYCD Cultural Centre, The National Theatre, Abu Dhabi.  
Email me ( or send a message via the Beyond the Veil FB page to book an audition. 

TWO International Awards for The Great Redeemer...

Beyond the Veil's first production has won two awards from the Istanbul-based Direklerarası Audience Choice Awards.  


Ömer Şahinbaş, the Coordinator of the Direklerarasi Audiences Association, visited Beyond the Veil when in the capital.  The Selection Committee Members evaluate the plays of the season in performance and design categories as an audience not as a critic.

The awards go to Ahmad Jasim for Best Actor and Kathleen Moran for Best Supporting Actress in The Great Redeemer. 

The award for Comedy Ensemble went to Resuscitation Theatre’s The Comedy of Errors. This is the second time Resuscitation have won an award from the Direklerarasi Audiences Association.  Last year Resuscitation Theatre won the ‘Out of Border Theatre Honour’ for their stunning production of Trojan Women.    

“This is so unexpected.  I cannot put into words how happy I am that two of the cast won these esteemed awards.  The fact one of the recipients is an Emirati is particularly pleasing, and great for the theatre scene in Abu Dhabi.  I think it’s wonderful that two of capital’s theatre companies have won international recognition.   For Beyond the Veil, this is particularly exciting news as we head into the auditions for our second production, another play by Saleh Karama Al Ameri, Alms for the Poor” (Zakaia Cvitanovich, Artistic Director, Beyond the Veil).

(24th August, 2015)

The Great Redeemer

Finally, the video for The Great Redeemer has been uploaded.  You can watch it on YouTube or turn to the 'Productions' page.  You'll find it under the outline for the play.
Do me a favour though... don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to the Beyond the Veil YouTube channel. 

(12th August, 2015)

Updated Calendar

The calendar has been updated with audition and performance dates.  Go to the 'More' tab and choose 'Upcoming Events'. 
Be sure to check them.

(7th August, 2015)

Johnny Depp on His Acting Technique

With auditions getting closer, I thought I'd share this.
During the rehearsal period, I like to ask my actors to choose a piece of music that embodies their character.  This is something I do myself, and I find it helps me understand my character.  It helps to take the character off the page and make them 3 dimensional. 

(7th August, 2015)

Grab the last spots for screen acting
and screen writing next week with Constellation

Constellation’s new triple bill of courses is about to kick off!

Places are filling up for our new suite of courses starting next week but we *do* still have a few spots remaining. Five graduates from our last screen acting courses walked straight into starring in an Emirates Airlines corporate video! Email to get your name on the list, now.

The courses will be run by the Co-Artistic Director of Constellation, Alex Broun, who has over 20 years of acting and writing experience, featuring in TV series such as Home and Away and Neighbours, and has international TV and film-writing credits to his name.


1) Screen Acting for Beginners, every Monday from 10 August to 7 September
2) Screen Acting – Advanced every Tuesday from 11 August to 8 September
3) Screen Writing - All Levels, every Wednesday from 12 August to 9 September. 

All courses run from 7pm-10pm.

VENUE: All courses run 7pm-10pm here at Constellation, suite 1002 (10th floor), Al Thuraya Tower 1, Dubai Media City.

COST: AED1000 or each course with an AED200 discount for students who book both for Screen Acting and Screen Writing.

TUTOR: Co-Artistic Director of Constellation, Alex Broun has over 20 years of acting and writing experience, featuring in TV series’ such as Home and Away and Neighbours, and has international TV and film-writing credits to his name.
ABOUT THE COURSES: Screen Acting for Beginners is an inspiring course which explores all the essentials of acting for the screen – on-camera technique, camera angles, voice, characterization, confidence, auditioning, cold reads, and developing your own on-screen presence and charisma.

Screen Acting – Advanced delves further into the craft, looking at how to portray deep emotions on screen as part of an emotionally truthful and powerful performance. The course is designed for those who may have already completed one of Alex’s courses or who already have some on camera experience.

In both courses, there’s an option to have a professional showreel created at the end, and you will be introduced to filmmakers, producers and agents who can advise on next steps into the industry. You will also be given a chance to test your skills at real life casting opportunities!

Screen Writing – All Levels is for all those who want to write tomorrow’s screen blockbuster, rather than simply starring in them. It teaches you how to use images to tell a story, how to develop interesting characters, how to write convincing dialogue and how to structure a film. Do you really have to Save the Cat? What is the Hero's Journey? The course concludes with advice on how to market your script both locally and internationally.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: If the Stage is more your passion, our new run of 10-week Stage acting classes with Liz Hadaway start in September. From Monday 6 September why not try out a new acting method with Brecht for Beginners? In addition for those looking to gain an internationally recognised acting qualification the new term of LAMDA classes for adults starts on Wednesday 9 September. Get in touch now to find out more.

ALSO ... Experienced children's acting teacher from Lebanon, Eliane El Tromb is running two new 10-week drama courses for children on Tuesdays, 15 September to 17 November at Potentiel Nursery, Al Manara, Dubai. Squeaky Feet (ages 1-3) from 3pm-3.30pm is a fun and interactive drama workshop centering on rhythm, dance and song for toddlers and mums. Classes AED50 each or AED450 for the whole course. Twinkle Toes (ages 3-5) from 4pm-4.45pm is a dynamic introduction to drama in which children learn the basics of acting as well as how to interact positively with others, while building confidence. Classes AED75 each or AED675 discounted rate for the whole course. Classes are held in English but Eliane is also able to translate into Arabic and French.

Contact, or call 044385574 to book your course.
See you soon at Constellation!

The Jimmy Kimmel School of Perfect Acting

I get a lot of people asking me about acting lessons.  This is something that Beyond the Veil will be offering in the future, but until then... here's THE KIMMEL SCHOOL OF PERFECT ACTING...
(4th August, 2015)

Ramadan Kareem

A happy Ramadan to one and all.

(18 June, 2015)

A little bit of theory...

There seems to be a perception among many that acting requires no study (or theory).  As a theatre teacher (and student!) obviously I disagree with this.  I think training gives you foundation to what you're doing.  Is there only one way to act? No, of course not! What I always advise my students is to find something that suits you, and appeals to you. 
Personally I like Stanislavski and Meisner... they work for me.  Will they work for you? That's something only you can decide.  But in order to make that decision, you need to have some understanding of the techniques around. 

(24th June, 2015)

New Script APPROVED...

A big THANK YOU to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development for approving the script for our next production.  The MCYCD are great supporters of the arts in Abu Dhabi and deserve our thanks for promoting the arts the way they do.  

Next step... auditions!

(17 June, 2015)

Another Success for Saleh Karama Al Ameri

The cast of One More Try at the International Festival of Liberal Theatre in Jordan.  

Abu Dhabi theatre-goers will remember this play from Under One Umbrella, the festival of four of Saleh's  plays produced by Resuscitation Theatre.  

This particular production was directed by Mubarak Al Mazel from Kuwait.  

Well done to the cast and crew, and of course playwright!

Yet another 'Best Play' award for Emirati playwright, Saleh Karama Al Ameri. 


(23rd May 2015)

New Saleh Karama Al Ameri Play 2B Performed

I'm very pleased to announce Beyond the Veil's new play.  It's another Saleh Karama Al Ameri play, Alms for the Poor.  

This play is really interesting in that it has aspects of absurdism which will be quite new for the Abu Dhabi stage.. When I first read this play, it reminded me of a Beckett play.  So it's very different to our first production, The Great Redeemer.  

While The Great Redeemer was quite ground-breaking with the audience choosing the ending, this play, for the first time ever, this production will be performed in both Arabic and English.  Pretty exciting stuff.  

I feel very honoured that Saleh has trusted us with another one of his plays.

We will certainly do our best to make him proud.

Auditions will be around August/September and the play will be staged around November/December.  

Keep an eye on the website and our FB page for details.

(18th May 2015)


I'm VERY pleased to report that opening night went without a hitch.  Everybody on stage performed VERY well, and I think those of us backstage did a pretty good job too!

The Q&A session afterwards went well.  The opening night Q&A was something Maggie started with Resuscitation Theatre, and I think it's such a great idea (especially for Theatre students in the audience) I decided to follow suit and pay homage by incorporating it into Beyond the Veil's routine.  

Saleh Karama Al Ameri is always SO impressive when he discusses his plays. My only regret is that I don't speak Arabic... I'd love to be able to understand what Saleh says, as he says it.  

(26th March, 2015)

New Abu Dhabi theatre group seeks to tap Emirati talent

What started out as a university research project on the various facets and history of Emirati theatre has turned into Beyond the Veil, a fully-fledged company that seeks to further the local performing-arts scene and to tap Emirati talent.

Zakaia Cvitanovich, the company’s director, moved from New Zealand to the capital in 2006 and began by teaching drama at Abu Dhabi International School. She went on to direct and act in annual productions by resident companies, including Resuscitation Theatre. The proximity to an increasing number of Middle Eastern theatre enthusiasts led the director to establish Beyond The Veil, an extension of her master’s programme at the University of New England in Australia, this year.

Her self-funded company will open the season tomorrow with its debut playThe Great Redeemer – an English-language version of a script by award-­winning Emirati playwright Saleh Karama Al Ameri at Abu Dhabi Theatre.

“I recently decided to do a master’s in theatre because that is my passion,” says Cvitanovich, who also has a master’s in communication. “I started thinking about what I wanted to focus on and Arabic theatre was quite unknown to me even though it has a very long tradition.

“So I decided to look at Arabic theatre for my research assignment and that led me to look at Emirati theatre in particular.”

She says the theatre’s mission is to expose the multicultural audience in the UAE to Emirati and Arabic scripts, as well as attract Emiratis to the field of performing arts.

“Local theatre is so alive,” she says. “And there are so many Emirati playwrights to look at. For example, the Ruler of Sharjah, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, is a playwright, and I’m trying to get my hands on some his plays to stage. I’m also looking at bringing some poetry and short stories and adapting that for stage.”

Cvitanovich has managed to attract four Emiratis, who are involved in everything from acting and choreography to ­promotions.

“My goal is to foster Emirati practitioners and spectators,” she says. “I see that as the bare minimum of things I’d like to do with this company.”

She believes a career in theatre does not enjoy the status that a career in film has among Emiratis. “But I’m seeing an interest now,” says Cvitanovich. “I don’t mind how hard I have to work to get them involved but that was partly the reason I started the company. There is so much talent out there and it can’t just be a pastime.”

Cvitanovich plans on staging two plays a year that will explore Middle Eastern playwrights and literature.

“We’ve started with Saleh’s plays because I had directed his play Mobius at Resuscitation Theatre and we had workshopped The Great Redeemer, but couldn’t stage it back then.

“I’m already planning my next play – coincidentally, it is one of Saleh’s again. I’ve got all these ideas about how I’d like it to go, and there will be more work and actors involved because I want to stage the next one in Arabic and English.”

• The Great Redeemer is at Abu Dhabi National Theatre Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tickets are Dh50 for adults and Dh25 for students. Visit ­ or email ­ for more information

Production Week...

It's really happening people.  We have our final rehearsal tonight and then it's showtime.  Remember, if you want tickets you can email us ( to ensure you get a seat or take your chance at the door!

(23rd March 2015)

Abu Dhabi Week Article

Beyond the Veil Presents...

The Fight Scene

A great rehearsal last night.  So much more is making sense now!

Act 2 is really coming together and the fight scene looked great. 


(9th March 2015)


The Usual Suspects...

Once again Ahmed Ayad has done a FABULOUS job with his camera.  For more publicity photos of the cast, go to the Photo Spread page.


(5 March, 2015)


More Act 2 Photos...

For more photos, go to the Photo Spread page.

(23rd February, 2015)

Act 1 Photos

For more photos, go to the Photo Spread page.

(23rd February, 2015)

Photo shoot from our 2nd Rehearsal...

For more photos, go to the Photo Spread page.

(28th January, 2015)

Cast and Crew for "The Great Redeemer"

Really psyched with the first 'team' for our first show.  The cast is a mix of recognizable actors and new actors  to Abu Dhabi. 
Jaddad - Assyl
Mayara - Samah
Waiter/Son 1 - Ameer
Maitre 'D/Son 2 - Zaki 
Ridab - Valarie
Banan - Kathleen
Yaseen - Ahmad    
Zakaia - Director
Rob - Artistic Director
Ange - Costumes
Rehearsals start tonight. 
(18th January, 2015)

Remember... AUDITIONS

The Auditions for the first Beyond the Veil production are tomorrow night (Sunday, 11th January) at 7pm at Brighton College.
Hope you see lots of people try out for the premier of one of Saleh Karama Al Ameri's new plays, The Great Redeemer.

(10th January, 2015)


Saleh Karama Al Ameri's Latest Success

The Saleh Karama play, One More Try was a winner at the recent Kuwait Theatre Festival.  

Now this is a play I know well due to being involved with the 2013 Resuscitation Theatre production, when Maggie Hannan asked me to be her Assistant Director.  The thing I found particularly surprising about the play were the female characters.  So much so in fact, that it became the impetus of my planned dissertation for my Theatre Masters. 

The play won quite a few awards at the Kuwait Theatre Festival.  It's wonderful to see Saleh and his cast being recognised.  It's also wonderful for UAE theatre to do well at international festivals.  The video is the award ceremony.  At 58:24 you can hear Saleh's name being read and see his assent to the stage to collect his prize.  

I feel very honoured (and needless to say, privileged) to know Saleh personally and to be given another opportunity to direct another one of his plays. 
With a playwright like Saleh, the theatre scene in the UAE is in good hands.

(29th December, 2014)

Noted Cultural Figure Dies in Car Accident

It's with great sadness that I post this extract from The National.  Mr. Al Mazrouei was a tireless advocate for Emirati culture.  My condolences go out to the Al Mazrouei family.


Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, a heritage adviser to the Crown Prince and former chairman of Abu Dhabi Media, died along with two other members of the Al Mazrouei family in a car crash on Thursday afternoon.

Hundreds of Emiratis have sent their condolences through Twitter, with many honouring Mr Al Mazrouei for his work in promoting UAE culture.

The National (13/11/14)

Why launch the company SO LONG before the first show?

The thoughts behind this were to get the name 'out there' well in advance, so that when our first play hits the stage, the name will be known.
Now this isn't a new phenomena.  Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice always released the CD (or record in those days!) of the music before the show opened.  The reason behind this was so the audience would have a feeling of déjà vu. 
And as it worked for them, I'm hoping it'll work for us!

(12th October, 2014)

The choice of name...

The LAST thing we would EVER want to do is offend anybody...
There are two reasons we chose Beyond the Veil as the name for the theatre company:

Firstly, Beyond the Veil aims to lift the veil off theatre, thereby making it more accessible to the audience.  What does this actually mean... The veil we're looking beyond are the trappings of theatre.
Theoretical connections... Peter Brook’s empty space discusses stripping away the distance between actor and audience, to reinforce the concept that theatre is reality, and is all around. Grotowski’s Poor Theatre was “focused on actors in a space using their skills to create the world of the drama without expensive sets, lighting or costumes” (Clausen 2004, p. 53). He concentrated on the actor-audience relationship, returning it “to its root, ridding it of all the fancy trappings” (Tourelle and McNamara 1998, p. 188).

Secondly, one of the meanings of the phrase 'beyond the veil' is how you shouldn't judge a person by the way they look, that you should in fact look further than clothes and outwardly appearance in order to fully understand a person.  This is examined in Fatima Mernissi's book entitled Beyond the Veil.  This book explores gender dynamics in a modern Muslim society and how Islam treats women as equals to men, and respects them. Through her exploration, It shows the importance of the hijab or veil. 
Applying this to theatre... we want the audience to look further than the stage, and to see the reality beyond the performance. 

This is what we mean by "Beyond the Veil".

(10th October, 2014)