London, 2007. Five women speak and sing their stories – using their own words – stories of the unseen fallout of the war on terror. These are stories of real women, from cultures as varied as Senegal, Jordan, Palestine, and the English Midlands. They mostly came to the UK as refugees, or married refugees here. After 9/11 the world they loved here vanished almost overnight. One after another they were engulfed by private terror.

The first pair of performances were followed by a debate chaired by Victoria Brittain discussing the issues raised by Waiting. The panels includes Vanessa Redgrave, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Gareth Pierce, Manjinder Virk, Riz Ahmed and Moazzam Begg.

Presented in co-production with the Southbank Centre.


Purcell Room,
Southbank Centre




Writer | Victoria Brittain
Director & Librettist | Poppy Burton-Morgan
Composer | Jessica Dannheisser
Video, projection & Lighting Design | William Reynolds


Sabah | Juliet Stevenson
Wendy | Gemma Jones (March) Amanda Walker (September)
Alexia | Simone James
Nour (Soprano) | Anna Dennis
Yasmine (Mezzo) | Carole Wilson
Women A | Harriet Ladbury
Woman C | Diana Hardcastle (March) Nicola Walker (September)
Woman Z | Manjinder Virk
Amani | Priyanga Burford
Cello | Oliver Coates





‘…a haunting Verbatim exploration of the experience of British-based wives of Muslim political prisoners…The staging by Poppy Burton-Morgan is simple, with the stories cut into each other and variety introduced by Oliver Coates’s solo cello and the beautiful singing of Anna Dennis and Carole Wilson each telling further tales of womanly woe, both models of clarity as well as musical beauty. Waiting should be compulsory viewing for the politicians who have the power to invoke change. It is inevitably a chastening experience that should make every viewer reconsider their own values and those of a country that can act like this.’  - Philip Fisher in British Theatre Guide

‘perfect staging…absolutely superb…this must be seen!’ - Vanessa Redgrave

‘…unusual but strangely moving… the music and song lent depth of emotion and the repetition of the chorus: ‘This country I came to for refuge for peace’ was hauntingly effective. The portrayal by Simone James (currently in BBC soap Eastenders) of Alexia, a Senegalese refugee, was as majestic and poignant as Juliet Stevenson’s portrayal of Sabah, Jamil el-Banna’s wife, was slowly intense.’  - Harmit Athwal in Institue of Race Relations