To understand the adoption method, you have to experience it, which is why Adelheid created a special transfer workshop. The workshop often precedes an actual performance on site, organised by a local theatre company, a neighborhood organisation, artists and local residents. Previously, the adoption method has been transferred to theatremakers, drama school students and other artists in the Netherlands and abroad, such as the Tepito district in Mexico City, Tehran in Iran, the Hudson district in New York, Ciudad Juarez on the border of America and Mexico, Baku in Azerbaijan, and now the Medina and old city centre of Tangier, Morocco.
follow our footsteps through the ancient streets of the Medina and meet the lives that collided in the process.

I AM HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE HERE | the workshops + research

During the workshop, the actors and artists get to immerse themselves in the methodology and each other’s lives simultaneously. By show-and-telling each other a way through the contents of their bags, they lay their inner selves bare, before answering deeply personal questions in the Continuous Conversation.

Questions like “Who or what gets you up in the morning?”, “Have you ever been made a stranger?” and “Are you in control of your own life?” invite personal, intimate dialogue, bridging the gaps of perceived differences. After practicing the question, “in whose lap would you lay your head?”, they arrive in a place of loving safety and get ready to meet their adoptions.

THE ADOPTIONS | the couples introduce themselves

actor + resident
There’s nothing in or around Mohammed’s little shop on the Petit Socco – the small market – that isn’t small: the market square, Mohammed himself and the paintings he makes.

His miniatures of endless crowds of people on boats depict a longing desire to escape. Something neither Mohammed nor Abdelghani did, although they were both given the chance. Rather, they opted to stay close to their roots, the source of their creativity. The responsibility that both men had to bear because of this, drowned out their inner child. They find each other in their shared loss and revive their childlike playfulness in their scene.

actor + resident
Once a 15-year-old child bride, now a single divorcée. Nadia and her youngest daughter live in a derelict building, where they were joined by Hamza.

In their humble home, he recognises the women’s world of his mother and sister. He wants to be openly gay and hopes to have children one day, when the laws in Morocco change. Nadia does not believe that the laws will ever change, even if, as Hamza says, laws are made by the people. Nadia does believe that with God’s help, Hamza will return to the right path. “Do you mean that I am on the wrong path?” Hamza asks, “As I see it, this is the one path for me.”

actor + resident
Foulma feels comfort in the fact that Amine has in no way been judgemental about her desire to leave for Europe.

Hailing from Guinea, she is passing through and is told day in, day out to abandon her European dreams. That might be easy for people who do have everything, who do not have to endure looks of disapproval and discrimination every day. Because of the colour of your skin, like Foulma. Or because of your gender identity, like Amine. Having experienced rejection countless times, they decided to turn it into an exercise, meekly walking through the Medina in silence for hours, bathing in the gaze of others. In their scene, they explain how, as a duo consisting of a black woman and a queer person, their individual experience was enhanced.

actor + resident
Their worlds are far apart, but ultimately, Fawzi, a learned Bohemian, and Abdelkader, a Gnaoua musician, had much in common.

It did, however, take some time to find this common ground. Out of respect, Abdelkader waited for Fawzi to start the conversation, while Fawzi stopped his monologue because he was waiting for a question from Abdelkader. Until they both remained silent. We, their colleagues, set by and bit our tongues in jealousy, because although their encounter was anything but easy, it was a perfect mirror. They bickered like a married couple, an art in and of itself! Stubbornly, the conversation made its way to music and the board game Parchi, culminating in their final scene, a peace offering. We were all moved by what these two men were capable of together.

actor + resident
Abdellah El Gourd’s studio is full of old posters of his performances with great artists.

The teacher of Gnaoua music is a legend in Morocco and far beyond. Like a Buddha, he sits on his throne and shares his wisdom and experience through his music. He provides a safe space: Abdellah will welcome everyone and give all the opportunity to be who they are. In Abdellah, Ghassan found his dreamt-for adoption. He had been looking for a master to connect him to his own and his father’s Gnaoua roots through music. Ghassan is invited to take part in this rich tradition and shine a musical spotlight on it. If you are looking for Ghassan in Tangier, go to Abdellah’s studio!

actor + resident
On the same street that Darna calls home, amidst children sniffing glue, Rachid can be found sitting on a curb, working.

He has displayed his wares – cigarettes, nail clippers, handkerchiefs – on a small box, plying his trade to support his family. He is at peace. Hamza is touched by Rachid’s ‘being’. Hamza borrows some peace of mind from Rachid, who observes him with a silent, gentle smile. The great actor is restless and frustrated. He has a degree, is a former local politician and has passed government admissions classes, but he has not yet been allowed to taste success: “Maybe I would have been better off as a box-top trader, too. I wanted to stay to invest in my country, but I’m not so sure whether I made the right decision.”

actor + resident
Junior’s greatest desire is not to depart to Europe, but to get his papers in Morocco and shed his illegal status.

He said goodbye to Cameroon, his home country and he has not seen his mother for six years. Fedwa also misses her mother. Since her mother died, Fedwa has been fashioning a family of her own choosing. She distanced herself from the rest of her family and advises Junior to do the same. When they sit down for coffee together, they are exposed to the same looks as Amine and Foulma. For Fedwa, a Moroccan woman alongside a black man, the message is different. As a feminist, she is horrified by what those looks convey: “What are you doing with a black man? You are ours.” Their scene communicates how those looks bind them together even more firmly.

actor + resident
Sekaya means fetching water. For Zohra, a young ruralite woman, the trip to the well was a path to freedom.

Freed from the all-consuming eye in your home, you became your own person and could talk to whomever you want. How can you stay in control of your autonomy as a woman living in a conservative society? Khadidja – a learned, political, visual artist – meets Zohra – a farmer’s daughter and practicing believer. For years, Zohra has been working with Darna to teach women to weave and grant them financial independence. Although the two women appear very different, they have both had to fight to save their embattled autonomy. In their scene entitled ‘Sekaya’, they dance their way to freedom.

actor + resident
Margaritta is Mediterranean nomad. An Italian Jew, she settled in Tangier 15 years ago, a city she knows more intimately than Tangier locals do.

Sarah sits down by her side, echoing the painting above Margaritta’s sofa in her beautiful apartment. The energetic retired psychoanalyst and the young performer find each other in the power of art before losing each other on the final day. Ultimately, Sarah is forced to perform alone, without the ailing Margaritta. A glowing solo.

actor + resident
Do you see me? When Zouheir walks down the street, it doesn’t take long for people to approach him for a selfie. After all, he’s a well-known TV personality.

But what is visibility? And do all these people really see him?
Do you see me? After his twin brother’s death at birth and his mother’s subsequent infertility, Said was wracked with guilt, which is why he stayed to take care of the family when his father passed away. How can you be of significance in Moroccan society? Zouheir and Said have the same question: Do you see me? How do you keep your head above water when you are beset with responsibilities? Zouheir and Said do see each other and wanted to share this message with their audience through the following words, as seen through a mirror.

واش مكنبانش ليك؟

A CELEBRATION OF TANGIER IN ALL ITS GLORY | en route to the presentation in the Medina

All preparations have made, culminating in a programme and plan of military precision. In a two-hour theatrical presentation, the actors took the audience invited by the participants and organisations through all 10 adoptive homes, where the 10 couples expressed their shared lives in theatre and music.


To all the wonderful people who helped make this adventure possible and whom we have taken into our hearts:

Our local partners Mounira Bouzid El Alami + Abdelghani Bouzian of Darna.
Hamza Boulaiz of Spectacles pour tous. All the wonderfully brave and beautiful performers Abdelghani Bouzian, Hamza Boulaiz, Ghassan el Hakim, Fedwa Misk, Amine Naouni, Zouheir ait Benjedddi, Hamza Alouakouli, Khadija Tnana, Sarah Sefiani en Faouzi Essafi. The grand surrender of the residents of Tangier who opened their doors and hearts  Nadia, Abdellah, Zohra, Abdelkader, Rachid, Said, Foulma, Mohammed, Junior en Margaritta for their enthusiasm and unconditional vulnerability. Because when you encounter the beautiful, you also encounter friction, pain and confrontation. We have nothing but the deepest respect for anyone who has the courage to remain open, to show themselves and follow their new friend who elicits a smile and also provokes a tear.
Without the support of the Dutch Embassy in Morocco, this dream would never have come true.

– Myriam, Leendert, Lauren, AdeLheid, Female Economy