Samara's Shop by Patricia Byrne 

and workshop participants


The links between Ireland and the Middle East are closer than we realise. In Samara’s Shop in Derry, Youssef works to welcome, support and encourage newly settled Syrian refugees. But what happens, when the remnants of Ireland’s turbulent past begins to reveal itself? When Muireann, a shadow of an Ireland gone by shares her story of famine, migration, war and discrimination, an undeniable shared heritage is unearthed, opening our eyes to an incredible connection between two worlds. 


“Congratulations! Samara’s Shop was incredible. Thank you so so much. We really enjoyed watching it.” Mohamad Aota Bachi


Baraa Halabieh and Karim Motaz

Written and directed by Patricia Byrne, through development workshops, Samara’s Shop explores the fascinating links between Irish and Arabic culture. Byrne explores links in language, culture and experience, allowing for a celebration and acknowledgement of two very similar, but different, human experiences. The play pays homage to this through use of Irish, Arabic and English language as well as the use of an original score developed by Marty Coyle, Nikos Petsakos and Paul Cutliffe. With a truly new sound, the music perfectly magnifies the similarities between Irish and Middle Eastern tones, making for an amazing sensory experience. Samara’s Shop is a play for the present, the past and the future and the vital link between us all. 


“What a great night and a fantastic play! We really enjoyed it. I want to watch it again!” Hamed Zuhairy


Cara Park and Julie-Yara Atz


The play was performed by Julie-Yara Atz, Karim Motaz, Baraa Halabieh, Sean Donegan, Cara Park and Conan Hamilton, at The Derry Playhouse 23rd - 25th September 2021. It was sold out and received standing ovations.


“Samara’s Shop was simply fantastic. I learned so much and the characters were so well drawn" Maureen McLaughlin


Julie-Yara Atz


Many thanks to Lisa Fitzpatrick, Don McCamphill, Fadl Mustapha and Anan Tello for consultancy and feedback on the script.


“Samara’s Shop was really beautiful. I enjoyed watching the play.”

Rahaf S Raad


Julie-Yara Atz


Special thanks also to Mohamad Otah Bachi and Ghaith Otah Bachi for ideas and support, and Mohamed Ali for letting us use the name of his shop. Thank you to Fadl Mustapha for being our Production Advisor. Many thanks to Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin and the North West Islamic Association for their valuable support.


“What a great show. Well done everyone!” Sha Gillespie 


Sean Donegan, Karim Motaz and Baraa Halabieh 


“Just watched Samara’s Shop. Congratulations to all concerned.”

Eamonn McCann 


Karim Motaz and Conan Hamilton


“Wow! It was fantastic to be able to tune in from home. Such a wonderful production and talented cast. Congratulations!" Helen Di Duca

Sole Purpose is core funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland,  this project was funded by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland Community Arts Grant.


Photos by Gav Connolly




Bringing professional theatre to communities

Sole Purpose is a company limited by guarantee, registration number NI37481 and is recognised by the Inland Revenue as a charity, reference number NIC100618