Rabih Mroué

Actor, Director, Playwright
Born Beirut, Lebanon, 1967
Lives in Hazmieh, Lebanon

Photo by Lina Gheibeh.

... The grant has allowed me great freedom and concentration in pursuing projects that I had been developing and focusing on for the last couple of years...

Rabih Mroué, December 12, 2010


Rabih Mroué is an actor, director, and playwright who creates plays, performances, and videos. His work confronts traditional notions of theatre and examines how the performer relates to the audience within a non-traditional atmosphere. His works deal with issues that have been ignored in the current political climate of Lebanon, which has even caused the country to censor his work. How Nancy Wished That Everything was an April Fool's Joke––a work that presents an episodic history of Lebanon's fifteen-year civil war through the experiences of four fighters who served in different militias––was censored by the country in 2007. He draws attention to the broader political and economic contexts by means of a semi-documentary theatre.

In 2010, Mroué had his first solo exhibition, I, the Undersigned at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands, with the support of his 2010 Grants to Artists award. In addition to his work in theater and performance, Mroué has shown exhibitions of film and visual art at galleries, museums, and biennials subsequent to his 2010 FCA grant, including Galerie Tranzitdisplay, Prague (2011); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2013); and the International Center of Photography Triennial (2013).

Select performances by Mroué prior to his 2010 FCA grant include Yesterday's Man (2007), a performance in collaboration with Tony Chakar and Tiago Rodrigues that premiered at La Merce, Girona, Spain; Theater with dirty feet (2008), which premiered at HAU 2, Hebbel-Theater, Berlin; The inhabitants of images (2009), which premiered at Art Dubai; and Photo-Romance (2009), which premiered at Festival d'Avignon in collaboration with Lina Saneh.

Following his 2010 Grants to Artists award, Mroué received a Spalding Grey Award (2010) and a Prince Claus Award (2011).

Mroué received a B.A. from Université Libanaise, Beirut, Lebanon in 1989 and is on the board of the Beirut Art Center.

Artist Statement

In 1990 I began creating my own plays, performances, and videos. Continuously searching for new and contemporary relations among all the different elements and languages of the theater art forms, I question the definitions of theater and the relationship between space and form in performance and how the performer relates with the audience. My works deal with issues that have been swept under the table in the current political climate of Lebanon.

From theater practice to politics, and from the problem of representation to my private life, my search for “truth versus fiction" begins via documents, photos, and found objects, often-fabricating documents and other “truths." The work becomes a dissection table for the dubious processes of Lebanon's war society.

December 2009