Creative Team & Credits

Hana: Rebecca Banatvala
Niqabi Ninja: Juliana Yazbeck

Writer: Sara Shaarawi
Director: Catrin Evans
Associate Director: Niroshini Thambar
Composer: BalQeis
Sound Designer: Nik Paget-Tomlinson
Illustrator: Gehan Mounir
Additional vocal composition: Juliana Yazbek

Production Manager: Zoë Squair
Assistant Production Manager: Sarah O’Connor
Production Coordinator: Katherine Dilworth
Operations Coordinator: Sophie Sierra

Producer: Kevin Wratten
Producer (Egypt): Adel Abdel Wahab
Assistant Producer: Saffy Setohy
Executive Producer: Mhari Robinson

Access Consultants: Max Alexander, Sonia Allori & Kirstin Cunningham.
BSL Interpreter: Sumayya Si-Tayeb

Engagement Producer: Tessa Gordziejko
Social Media Manager: Katie Goh
Promotional trailers: Minttu Mäntynen
Promotional image: Mihaela Bodlovic
Pictured: Ebtihal Mahadeen

Audio devices provided by:

With heartfelt thanks to: Matt Addicott, Davey Anderson, Susannah Armitage, Nicola McCartney, Fiona Sturgeon-Shea, Julia Taudevin, Platform, Playwrights Studio Scotland, Tron Theatre, and to everyone who worked on the developmental phases of Niqabi Ninja when we thought it was going to be a play for a stage.

An Independent Arts Projects production. In association with Hewar Company for Independent Theatre and Performing Arts.  

Co-commissioned by Shubbak Festival.
Supported by British Council Arts Digital Collaboration Fund, Creative Scotland’s Sustaining Creative Development Fund, &  Edinburgh International Festival.

Meet the team

Rebecca Banatvala (Performer)

Rebecca’s theatre credits include: Mrs Puntilla and Her Man Mutti (Lyceum), A Tingle in the Plumbing: Love and Work, (Lord Stanley), Rotterdam (UK Tour, Hartshorn-Hook), Reveal (Collusion), The Three Musketeers (The Dukes), Rapport (Caravan Theatre), N.P.B.D. (Lyric Hammersmith), Deadly Dialogues (Atticist), Trident Moon (The Finborough). Screen credits include: The Princess Switch 3 (Netflix), The Syndicate (BBC), Love, Death and Robots (Netflix) and Emmerdale (ITV).

Rebecca is also a writer and devisor. Her show, Boxtickers, codivised with LJ Parkinson, is programmed for 2022 at Camden People’s Theatre. Rebecca has been shortlisted for Nisha Parti’s Asian Writers Initiative in conjunction with the BBC for her series Zoo House. She is currently working with Deborah Groves on her new book, The Neurodiverse Actor and has also written for The Independent.

Juliana Yazbeck (Performer)


Juliana is an award-winning actor, writer & musical artist. She is best known for her roles as Roza Salih in Glasgow Girls (National Theatre of Scotland) and Yara in the Emmy-winning series Shankaboot (BBC World Service). Her solo poetry performance (titled Ana El Mukhalles / I am the Saviour) debuted at London’s Grand Junction in March 2021 (MARSM/Grand Junction). A cross between a spoken word set and a one-woman show, Juliana is performing it at this year’s Olavsfest (Trondheim, July 2021).

As a musical artist, Juliana’s debut record ‘SUNGOD’ was awarded PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music Award. In March 2020, Juliana played the iconic Electric Ballroom. In 2019, she double-billed London’s ULU alongside Sudanese icon AlSarah, headlined the National Theatre River Stage and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, and was nominated for the Arab British Centre’s Award for Culture.

Juliana writes regularly. Her words feature in gal-dem magazine and on Medium.

Sara Shaarawi (Playwright)

Sara is a playwright from Cairo who is now based in Glasgow. She has had her work performed at the Tron Theatre (Glasgow), Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh), Village Pub Theatre (Edinburgh), Platform (Easterhouse), Rich Mix (London) and the CCA (Glasgow). Sara also took part in the Playwrights Studio Scotland’s 2015 Mentoring Programme and the National Theatre of Scotland’s Breakthrough Writers programme in 2016.  In 2017 she was one of the recipients of the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland ’s New Playwright’s Awards, and received a Starter programme bursary with the National Theatre of Scotland. Also in 2017, she partnered with the Workers Theatre to crowdfund and create Megaphone, a new bursary aimed at supporting artists of colour based in Scotland. Other credits include the dramaturgy, performance and translation of One Day in Spring (Oran Mor/NTS) and Here’s the News from Over There (Northern Stage), and project managing the Arab Arts Focus showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017.

Catrin Evans (Director)

Catrin is a theatre-maker, academic and activist based in Glasgow, where she is the Head of Creative Learning at The Citizens Theatre. Directing work includes: I Hear The Image Moving (Tramway); Endurance  (A Moment’s Peace); Dear Scotland (National Theatre of Scotland); Leaving Planet Earth  (Grid Iron/Edinburgh International Festival); Some Other Mother (The Tron); The Sweet Silver Song of the Lark  (A Play, A Pie & A Pint) & The Chronicles of Irania (A Moment’s Peace). As a writer her credits include: The Land Beneath My Feet (Dundee Rep); The Duchess’ Army  (Stage to Page, Rehearsed Reading); Thank You (A Play, A Pie & A Pint plus an adaption for BBC Scotland Radio); We had Song  (Stellar Quines, Rehearsed Reading); The Jean Jacques Rousseau ShowDemonsTo Hell and Back (A Play, A Pie & A Pint as part of writing group the DM Collective). She founded and oversees the work of A Moment’s Peace Theatre Company, whose reputation for delivering innovative participatory arts projects across Scotland marks them out as a leading player in the socially-engaged arts community. Catrin completed an AHRC-funded practice-based PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2020.

Niroshini Thambar (Associate Director)

Niroshini is a musician, composer and sound designer. She works across live theatre, audio drama, installation and film, and has previously been a session musician on violin and keyboards, performing on the UK live circuit and on album recordings. Her theatre work includes Ghosts (National Theatre of Scotland) Hindu Times (Royal Lyceum /Pitlochry Theatre/Naked Productions) Here (Curious Monkey/Northern Stage) Gagarin Way (Dundee Rep) Home is Not the Place (Annie George) Chronicles (National Theatre of Scotland/Project X/Thulani Rachia), Secret Life of Suitcases(Ailie Cohen Puppets) Drift (Vision Mechanics). She has been nominated for a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland in the category Best Music and Sound, and has had artist residencies or commissions with Imaginate, National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh Mela, Drake Music Scotland and Magnetic North Theatre. Other recent work includes music and sound design for the audio-poetry work The Girls that Hide and Seek (Rupinder Kaur/BBC New Creatives/Rural Media), and music for the documentary film in development The Album (BofA Productions) from filmmaker Sana Bilgrami.

BalQeis (Composer)

BalQeis is an Egyptian live looping artist/Oud player, has been playing Oud for more than 15 years, classically trained in traditional oriental music and has evolved over the years to craft her own unique sound. Being a multi-instrumentalist, BalQeis takes control of every element of her music, as she steps onto the stage, she projects a wide spectrum of sound described as a fusion between Electronic, Alternative, Rock, and Oriental Music which comes from a vast musical knowledge, a multi-sided artistic background, and wide imagination, BalQeis delivers a captivating performance as a one-woman show with her live looping project “BalQeis Live”.

Nik Paget-Tomlinson (Sound Designer)

Nik is a musician, composer and sound designer, creating work for theatre and dance. He is an audio producer at Offbeat Studios in Edinburgh, an associate artist with Platform Theatre and a regular live accompanist at Dancebase, Scotland’s National Centre for Dance. As a studio music producer and instrumentalist, Nik has performed live on the gig circuit and had track releases in Europe and the US.

Nik has worked with a range of dance and theatre companies including Scottish Youth Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, Curious Seed, Cultured Mongrel Dance Theatre, Imaginate, La Nua, Starcatchers and TAG Citizens Theatre. He has also been nominated for a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland in the best use of music and sound category.

Credits include Hindu Times (Royal Lyceum /Pitlochry Theatre/Naked Productions), As.Was.Could Be (Cultured Mongrel/Mara Menzies), Vent (SYT National Ensemble) Chronicles (National Theatre of Scotland/Project X/Thulani Rachia) Aluma (Merav Israel), Ice House (Ailie Cohen Puppets/Aberdeen Performing Arts), Enso (La Nua), Drift (Vision Mechanics).

Gehan Mounir (Illustrator)

Gehan is an illustrator and concept artist from Egypt, who upon graduation she has been professionally working both in local studios and eventually as a full time freelancer. Having graduated from AUC in 2017 with a bachelor in Architectural Engineering, she afterwards made the decision to career shift into being an artist and followed her childhood passion. Ever since then she has been open to the concept of exploration in terms of what she does, but found herself constantly swaying between implementing industrial design and artistic expression, thus finding passion in both concept art and in storytelling illustrations.

Having worked on multiple projects both locally and internationally along a variety of inspiring teams, her short yet still ongoing journey has been quite enlightening to her. Experiences with different productions such as advertisements, TV shows, comics, game designs, and other forms of artistic integrations constantly remind her of the broad influence art constantly has on the world.

As a result her main goal is to stay true to her craft, always enjoy what she does, and hopefully do her best to serve good causes. In addition to drawing, Gehan does voice over professionally, is a music hobbyist, and a part time singer. She believes that artistic expression comes in all shapes and forms and is both connected and boundless.

Katie Goh (Social Media Manager)

Katie is a freelance writer, editor and marketing specialist based in Edinburgh. Her first non-fiction book The End is forthcoming from 404 Ink in late 2021.

Kevin Wratten (Producer)

Kevin is an independent producer committed to creating high quality, innovative experiences across circus, theatre, dance and outdoor spectacles. Since 2013, Kevin has worked in socially engaged contexts and with professional artists at leading venues and festivals including; Sadler’s Wells, Greenwich+ Docklands International Festival , Shubbak Festival and the Roundhouse where he headed up a programme of social circus and artist development opportunities including regular training, masterclasses and producing and touring new work.

Adel AbdelWahab  (Producer: Egypt)

Adel Abdelwahab is a Theater director and curator for performing arts. In 2012, he founded Theater Is A Must forum which is an independent international theater forum in Alexandria, Egypt for contemporary and political theater. He has been the Artistic Director of Theater Is A Must for seven editions since then.

Saffy Setohy (Assistant Producer)

Saffy is an independent dance artist and producer living in Glasgow. For 14 years she has been working across and between choreography, performance, participatory practices, arts administration and management, facilitation and dance development in a variety of contexts. She is passionate about the potential for art to invite positive social change and connection. Saffy is excited to be working with IAP, helping to create supportive conditions for artists to work in.

Mhari Robinson (Executive Producer)

Mhari produced performance projects and ran small theatre and dance companies for 10 years before she founded Independent Arts Projects in 2018. She has led the company since working with a range of independent artists to create thrilling performance projects for audiences across Scotland and beyond.

Previously, Mhari worked with Janice Parker Projects, Fire Exit, Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, A Play, a Pie and a Pint, and Wee Stories.  She has toured work across Scotland, the rest of the UK, Ireland, Western Europe, North and South America.  She has published texts, managed the production of complex film & audio projects as well as producing new theatrical works.

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Niqabi Ninja by Sara Shaarawi is
an Independent Arts Projects (Edinburgh) production
in association with Hewar Company (Alexandria).

Co-commissioned by Shubbak Festival.
Supported by British Council Arts‘ Digital Collaboration Fund,
Creative Scotland’s Sustaining Creative Development Fund
and Edinburgh International Festival.