The Scar Test

March 25 - April 4, 2021

By Hannah Khalil

Directed by Claire Moyer

“We’re in prison. But we’ve done nothing wrong…I just–I can’t believe this is England.”

They expected to be free from the horrors of their homelands when they finally fled to the United Kingdom; instead, imprisoned together at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, a cohort of asylum seekers find themselves stuck in limbo, stripped of their privacy, and isolated a world away from the lives they used to know. Based on interviews with current and former detainees, Irish-Palestinian playwright Hannah Khalil’s The Scar Test offers a powerful and unflinching snapshot of life inside England’s migrant detention system. Fiercely felt and fearlessly told, The Scar Test is an incendiary theatrical experience that will stay with you long after the performance has ended.

$10 Suggested Donation Per Viewer  Run Time: Approximately one hour

Content Advisory

If you want to learn more about the content of this show, please click below for specific content alerts. If you have further questions, contact the box office.

Content warnings are verbal or written notices that precede potentially sensitive content. Content warnings differ from spoilers because they don’t explain plot or context. Similar to a rating on a movie or TV show, content warnings give the audience a heads up about potentially triggering topics in the performance. We hope that providing the following content warnings will equip our audiences with the tools they need to engage with the performance in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

Production Staff

Director of Photography - Michael Long

Scenic Designer - Stefanie Hansen

Lighting Designer - Jerold R. Forsyth

Sound Designer - Damien Figueras

Costume Designer - Asaki Kuruma

Trauma-Informed Performance Consultant - Rachel O'Hanlon-Rodriguez

Dramaturg - Kate Fischer

Dialect Coach - Erin Washington

Production Manager - Amanda Coffin

Stage Manager - Erin Coffman

Prop Master/Scenic Charge - Sharri Jerue

Technical Director - Jake Rothermel

Director of Digital Strategy - Kimberly Reilly


Beste Bilen - Interpreter, Bladder Lady, Hungry Lady

Veshonte Brown -Clubber/Guard, Menses Lady, Constipated Lady, Friender

Cristy Chory - Shouty Lady
Doctor, Suspicious Woman, Main Friender

Angela Rose Longo - Rash Lady, Scared Friender, Guard

Stefan Matthews - Guard

Sharese Salters - Nurse, Tired Lady

J.Bean Schwab - Receptionist, Cool Person, Yarl's Wood Spokesperson

Anna Sorrentino - Strong Lady, Solicitor, Guard

Dramaturgical Resources

Click here to see Production Dramaturg Kate Fischer's dramaturgical website.

Click here to view Education Dramaturg Cristy Chory's educational guide.

Click here to view a panel conversation on immigration featuring Production Dramaturg Kate Fischer and Director Claire Moyer as they speak with Margaret O'Sullivan, Executive Director of Nationality Services Center; Michele R. Pistone, Professor of Law at Villanova and director of the CARES clinic.

Check here to join us on Sunday, March 28th at 5pm EST for our Speakers' Night webinar with playwright Hannah Khalil, director Claire Moyer and Dramaturg Kate Fischer.

About the Playwright

Hannah Kahlil

A writer of Palestinian-Irish heritage, Hannah Khalil was awarded the prestigious Heimbold Chairship for Villanova University, Philadelphia in 2021. Her stage plays include A Museum in Baghdad (Royal Shakespeare Company) which marked the first play by a woman of Arab heritage on a main stage at the RSC, The Censor Or How to Put on A Political Play without Getting Fined or Arrested (Central School of Speech and Drama, London), Interference (National Theatre of Scotland) and the critically acclaimed Scenes from 68* Years - shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award: “confirms Khalil as a dramatist of compelling potential” (Arcola Theatre, London, 2016). Scenes has also been mounted in San Francisco and in Tunisia in a British Council supported production.  Further work includes The Scar Test “Political theatre at its best” (Soho Theatre, London) and Plan D (Tristan Bates Theatre, Meyer Whitworth Award nominee).

In 2020, Hannah adapted four Greek myths as part of Myths and Adventures from Ancient Greece which were rendered as cardboard cut-out puppets online for Waterman Arts. She also adapted Ovid’s Penelope as part of 15Heroines at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Her children’s plays Mrs Scrooge and Not the Gingerbread Man were hosted by Fly High Stories online.

Hannah's radio plays include The Unwelcome, Last of the Pearl Fishers and The Deportation Room all for BBC Radio 4. She has also written multiple episodes of the UK Channel 4 drama Hollyoaks.  Her first short film The Record took the Tommy Vine screenplay award and premiered at the Palestinian Film Festival in London in November 2019.

Hannah was the Bush Theatre London’s writer on attachment in 2016/7 as part of Project 2036. She was also recipient of the Arab British Centre’s Award for Culture in 2017. She is currently under commission to the Shakespeare’s Globe, the Kiln in London and Golden Thread in San Francisco. She is a founder member and Artistic Associate of Manara Theatre, whose mission is to champion the work of Arab writers. Hannah is developing a new original TV drama with Netflix Arabic.

About the Director


Claire Moyer is a freelance director and the Associate Director and Literary Manager for Inis Nua Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Her work with Inis Nua has been recognized with four Barrymore Award Nominations and includes A Hundred Words for SnowThe Monster in the Hall, Fishskin Trousers, The Swallowing Dark, Swallow, Radiant Vermin, and Spine. Other area credits include: Donna Orbits the Moon (Tiny Dynamite), Mary Rose (PAC), and Catch-22 (Curio). She has also directed projects for Philadelphia Theatre Company, Revolution Shakespeare, First Person Arts with the Free Library of Philadelphia, PYP New Voices Festival, Drexel Players, and the Louisville Jane Austen Festival. Claire holds an MA in Directing from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.