The Enheduanna Society

The Enheduanna Society is an educational charity, founded in 2002, to advance the education of the public by promoting the history, culture and literature of ancient Iraq (Mesopotamia), particularly but not exclusively through the arts of oral storytelling and drama.

Performance, 30 mins by Zipang Storytellers

Introduction, 30 mins by Dr Jana Matuszak

Are you a Woman?

A Storytelling Performance in English & Arabic

Are you a Woman? is based on a translation by Dr Jana Matuszak of a newly discovered Sumerian poem from 2,000 BCE, in which two women hotly debate what it takes to be a ‘good’ woman.

A bilingual, English-Arabic performance by the Zipang Storytellers brings this ancient text back to life with a modern twist. Explore what it meant to be a woman in Iraq 4,000 years ago and find out how this ‘old world’ is actually not so far from ours. You will be surprised how sassy, fun and engaging ancient literature can be!

Translated from Sumerian by Dr Jana Matuszak

Script Editing and Performance by Zipang Storytellers June Peters, Badia Obaid and Fran Hazelton

Produced and Directed by Richard Wilding

Supported by the Institute of Classical Studies, London Centre for the Ancient Near East (LCANE), the Enheduanna Society, Eye on Heritage and Being Human Festival


The Women of Gilgamesh


15th October 2022, P21 Gallery, London

This world premiere by distinguished Iraqi actress Badia Obaid was a telling of the ancient Babylonian poem Gilgamesh which concentrated on the Epic’s female voices – Shamhat, Shiduri, Ninsun, and others.

Obaid’s performance showed that female characters were allotted crucial roles, upon whom the overall storyline depends at key junctures. Moreover, they display a special wisdom which transcends that of men, and each contributes in their own way to the texture of the narrative and its thought-world.

Indeed, the performance highlighted the ways in which women ‘bookend’ the narrative. It is the womenfolk of the city of Uruk who, through their protests to the gods at Gilgamesh’s behaviour, ignite the train of events that forms the main arc of the story. Equally, Gilgamesh’s reason for returning home at the end of the story is that he is following the advice given to him by the ale-wife Shiduri (in the Old Babylonian version).

Overall, the performance constituted a piece of artistry in its own right, as well as a window onto the sociocultural history of women in the Mesopotamian world, and also a contribution to the interpretation of the poem’s literary artistry.


Time Travellers in Mesopotamia

9th July 2022, LCB Depot, Leicester

The Enheduanna Society participated in one of the monthly ‘CQ Earlies’ held at LCB Depot and other venues in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter.

Children and their accompanying adults were invited to travel back in time and try their hands at ancient writing, games, construction of ziggurats and palaces, boat building and more!

Organised by Eye on Heritage and the Enheduanna Society in conjunction with the University of Leicester and The Station, Iraq, also including activities designed by Esagil Games.

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