A theatre director, specializing in working with disadvantaged and traumatised people, Zeina Daccache struggled to set up Lebanon’s first prison-based drama project in the country’s notorious Roumieh Prison. For 15 months, 45 adult male inmates, some completely illiterate, found themselves working together to present an adaptation of the famous stage play “12 Angry Men”, here re-named “12 Angry Lebanese”. Through their new-found creative outlet, we witness the prisoners coalesce into a slick, professional ensemble.

The drama therapy sessions, the interviews with the inmates, the moments of crisis, the moments of joy, and the interaction with both Daccache and the external audience, convey an extraordinary message of hope, forgiveness and change. In the course of their artistic journey, these “murderers, drug dealers and rapists” reveal kindness and faith in life.

Inspiring and honest, this account of the prisoners’ journey demonstrates the efficacy of drama therapy and its positive effects on some of the most ostracized individuals in society.