Female Economy

Veiled Monologues about


12 powerful and intimate stories about women with a muslim background living in the Netherlands performed by 3 Turkish actresses, accompanied by a Turkish saz player. 


12 years after preniering in Amsterdam, via Belgium and New York, passing by Cairo and Berlin, over Ankara and Paris through France and Canada, now on tour throughout The Netherlands. 

Understanding, insight in and knowledge of the Islam are completely eroded and have been replaced for the overall accepted prejudices and unfounded principles. in this climate it's especially the women who in the hierarchy of aspect go downwards very fast. Not only as a mother, but especially as an autonomous individual with the thereto belonging intimacies. Don't let us be 'listenless' to each other! 


Women with a Muslim background living in the Netherlands are getting a lot of attention, whether they want it or not. But what do we actually know about them?

This was the question that Adelheid asked herself. So when are we going to immerse ourselves in their stories, their rituals, their beauty and their pain?  Adelheid wanted to add a clear, gentle perspective on the other, so she went around the Netherlands interviewing lots of women. All of them were born in a predominantly Muslim country, and all of them are now living in the Netherlands.

These interviews were adapted into twelve powerful and intimate monologues, each of which was spoken onstage by a woman from a Muslim culture. A Turkish saz player provided musical accompaniment.
The English, French and Dutch lyrics are available here.

Veiled Monologues was performed for the first time on 11 December 2003 in De Brakke Grond theatre, Amsterdam. Since then the play has been performed in four languages, in Berlin, Ankara, New York, Yale, Boston and Avignon. There were also readings of the play in Cairo and Amman. January 2013 the performance returned to Amsterdam with a special jubilee edition, followed by a national tour in 2014 and 2015.

2008 saw the premiere of the first French-language performances of Monologues Voilés in Brussels, with a Belgian cast and co-produced by Théâtre de Poche. The same cast performed the play for three months starting on 30 September 2011 in Le Petit Théâtre in Paris, co-produced by LP Productions. Monologues Voilés toured France (www.lesmonologuesvoiles.fr), Switzerland (www.ticketcorner.ch) and Canada (www.studioquipo.com) in season 2012-2013.


'The inspirational energy of Les Monologues Voilés dispels
our preconceptions of a community that is home to as many truths
 as the number of individuals that make it up.'

'If you want to see a Muslim woman without the mask she wears in public,
then you must give her a platform. Les Monologues Voilés fulfils that
all-important task, presenting a joyful, celebratory setting in which women
let loose in unembarrassed and informal conversation.'

'What is important to me is the encounter with the Other – however different it may be. And ultimately, if my work is successful, people should say, “The Other is actually only human too, not alien.” Adelheid Roosen sees the creation of the Veiled Monologues as having a correspondence with this ‘awareness and dialogue’ approach. ‘I’m driven by my curiosity; you need to find out about people before you start judging them,’ she declares as she waves her large, nail varnished hands around in the air as if to emphasise her words [...].

Rather than launching an all-out offensive against Islam as a religion, this play puts up for discussion cultural traditions such as circumcision, vaginal sealing, forced and arranged marriages, the obsession with female virginity, and the taboo surrounding homosexuality.'

'Twelve briljant portraits of women who speak candidly... This performance is made up of contrasting, colourful and sometimes funny testimonies that are always sincere and poignant.'

'The Veiled Monologues is indeed beautiful, and it is courageous. It also rings with authenticity [...]. The monologues include gestures of the broadest sort, a sort of sexual Vaudevlle, but it's hard to take offense: the things we hear about are detailed, and yet not clinical. The sheer honesty of the words strips away the capacity for snap judgment.'

'The image many Westerners have of Muslim women is of repressed females dominated by a strict patriarchal culture that literally forces them to hide behind a veil. But many of these tales counter that simplistic view, showing the joys these women take in their sexuality and the freedom they have found within the confines of their religious and cultural upbringing.' 

No Shame in the Veiled Monologues
'In Veiled Monologues, talking doesn’t keep the female body at a distance. It brings the body close. The body is the main protagonist, and very much present. And that same body is also the stage, the place where pain is felt, and shame, humiliation and fear – but most of all, unparalleled sensuality. In Veiled Monologues, it doesn’t matter what kind of body you have. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fat or thin, young or old, beautiful or ugly – that’s not the subject up for discussion here. And neither does it matter what your lover looks like, or even what his intentions are.'

'An hour and a half of stories and music, beginning with mint tea and sweets and ending in ovations and a sense of happiness. Welcome to The Veiled Monologues.'

'[...] stories of such sophisticated lovemaking that you are embarrassed by your own Dutch bluntness. The stories are also highly poetic, with wonderful details even where you would hardly expect them.'

'Performed across Europe, the Middle East, and before the Dutch Parliament, The Veiled Monologues is a vital, surprising, and poetic portrait of love and relationships under Islam. Created from the collected testimonies of women born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq - this production has been praised as, " of a rare intensity. It feels like a privilege to actually look into the depths of a Muslim woman...'

'Whereas Ensler’s taboos came across as rather old hat, Roosen’s interests connected with the here and now. What’s going on and who’s that hiding behind the veil? But it’s equally important how the story is told. And that the way it’s told is vital, surprising and poetic.'

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Veiled Monologues on tour

Veiled Monologues has been translated and performed in 4 languages: Dutch, English, Turkish, French and with German subtitles.


05 nov 15 World Forum The Hague (English version)
03 dec 15 Parktheater Alphen aan den Rijn
10 dec 15 Theater de Veste Delft
12 dec 15 Theater Cultura Ede
15 dec 15 Isala Theater Capelle aan den IJssel

10 jan 16 Oude Luxor Theater Rotterdam 
14 jan 16 Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie Leeuwarden
15 jan 16 Stadschouwburg Middelburg Middelburg
17 jan 16 De Kleine Komedie Amsterdam
20 & 21 jan 16 Theater aan het Spui Den Haag
22 jan 16 Schouwburg Almere Almere
23 jan 16 Schouwbrg Kustmin Dordrecht
28 jan 16 Theater De Purmaryn I Purmerend
29 jan 16 Podium Hoge Woerd - Leidsche Rijn Utrecht
30 jan 16 I De Meervaart Amsterdam
30 jan 16 De Meervaart Amsterdam



25 apr 14 I Stadsschouwburg I Utrecht
24 apr 14 I Stadsschouwburg I Utrecht
19 apr 14 I De Meerse I Hoofddorp
18 apr 14 I Theater De Vest I Alkmaar
17 apr 14 I Theater aan het Spui (Turkish) I The Hague
16 apr 14 I Theater aan het Spui I Den Haag
22 mrt 14 I Zaantheater I Zaandam
07 apr 14 I De Balie I Amsterdam
14 mar 14 I Leidse Schouwburg I Leiden
08 mar 14 I Schouwburg I Arnhem
07 mar 14 I De Blauwe Kei I Veghel
06 mar 14 I Goudse Schouwburg I Gouda
05 mar 14 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
04 mar 14 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
01 mar 14 I Schouwburg (Turkish) I Rotterdam
28 feb 14 I Schouwburg I Rotterdam
22 feb 14 I Toneelschuur I Haarlem
21 feb 14 I Toneelschuur I Haarlem
13 feb 14 I Wilminktheater I Enschede
12 feb 14 I Wilminktheater (Turkish) I Enschede
06 feb 14 I Stadsschouwburg (private) I Groningen
05 feb 14 I Stadsschouwburg I Groningen
01 feb 14 I Theater De Lieve Vrouw I Amersfoort
19 dec 13 I Blijfhuis (private) I Amsterdam
19 dec 13 I Blijfhuis (private) I Alkmaar
25 apr 13 I Blijfhuis (private) I Amsterdam
19 apr 13 I buurthuis De Mussen (private) I The Hague
18 apr 13 I Blijfhuis (private) I Amsterdam
14 feb 13 I One Billion Rising I Panama I Amsterdam
22, 23, 25 & 26 jan 13 I Podium Mozaïek I Amsterdam

12 - 16 may 09 I Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam I Amsterdam
23 mar 09 I Women Inc. I Pakhuis de Zwijger I Amsterdam
27 feb 09 I Theatre evening of Stine Jensen I De Griffioen I Amsterdam
24 okt 06 I Night of the UN I Melkweg I Amsterdam
15 apr 05 I Theaterzaal 200 I Amsterdam
13 apr 05 I Neighborhood Centre I Dordrecht
09 apr 05 I Het Eliashuis I Amsterdam
07 apr 05 I Woman's Centre Vrouw & Vaart I Amsterdam
06 apr 05 I Community Centre Overdie I Alkmaar
02 apr 05 I Centrum Moskee Deventer I Deventer
15 mar 05 I ROC I Nijmegen
08 mar 05 I Ministry of Foreign Affairs I The Hague
08 mar 05 I Central Library I Rotterdam
06 mar 05 I Moedercentrum Stabij I Utrecht
02 mar 05 I Community Centre Europawijk I Haarlem
27 feb 05 I CKC De Kubus Lelystad
22 feb 05 I De Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal I The Hague
21 feb 05 I Theater Concordia I The Hague
19 feb 05 I De Balie I Amsterdam
15 feb 05 I Schouwburg Kunstmin I Dordrecht
12 & 13 feb 05 Neighborhood Centre Stedenpunt I Almere
10 & 11 feb 05 I Chassé Theater I Breda
08 feb 05 I Theater De Stoep I Spijkenisse
01 - 06 feb 05 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
23 jan 05 I Theater aan het Vrijthof I Maastricht
21 jan 05 I STUK I Leuven
19 jan 05 I SCC de Muzenval I Eersel
16 jan 05 I Leidse Schouwburg I Leiden
15 jan 05 I ROC I Utrecht
13 jan 05 I Theater Hof 88 I Almelo
13 jan 05 De Doelen I Rotterdam
10 & 11 jan 05 I De Goudse Schouwburg I Gouda

28 dec 04 I LUX Theater I Nijmegen
21 - 23 dec 04 Theaters Tilburg I Tilburg
17 & 18 dec 04 I Chassé Theater I Breda
14 & 15 dec 04 I De Goudse Schouwburg I Gouda
10 - 12 dec 04 I Schouwburg Amstelveen I Amstelveen
07 dec 04 I Theater aan de Schie I Schiedam
03 & 04 dec 04 I Schouwburg Orpheus I Apeldoorn
27 & 28 nov 04 I Koningstheater I Den Bosch
25 nov 04 I Schouwburg De Meerse I Hoofddorp
23 nov 04 I Stadsschouwburg Middelburg I Middelburg
20 nov 04 I Schouwburg Kunstmin I Dordrecht
19 nov 04 I Het Trefpunt I Warmond
18 nov 04 I Theater Junushof I Wageningen
17 nov 04 I Theater De Blauwe Kei I Veghel
16 nov 04 I Theater De Veste I Delft
13 nov 04 I Zaantheater I Zaandam
12 nov 04 I Twentse Schouwburg I Enschede
10 nov 04 I Rabotheater I Hengelo
03 nov 04 I Theater De Leest I Waalwijk
02 nov 04 I Theater De Kom I Nieuwegein
29 - 31 oct 04 I De Meervaart I Amsterdam
28 oct 04 I Theater De Poorterij I Zaltbommel
24 oct 04 I Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie I Leeuwarden
23 oct 04 I Het Klooster I Woerden
21 oct 04 I Theater De Lieve Vrouw I Amersfoort
20 oct 04 I Parktheater Eindhoven
17 oct 04 I Theater De Maasport I Venlo
16 oct 04 Theater De Vest I Alkmaar
15 oct 04 De Reggehof I Goor
13 oct 04 I Schouwburg Agnietenhof Tiel
09 & 10 oct 04 Theater Zuidplein I Rotterdam
08 oct 04 Theater De Luifel I Heemstede
01 - 03 oct 04 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
28 - 30 sep 04 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
24 & 25 sep 04 I Theater aan het Spui I Amsterdam
09 - 14 mar 04 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
03 & 04 mar 04 I De Roestbak I Almere
24 - 26 feb 04 I Twentse Schouwburg I Enschede
20 - 22 feb 04 I Deventer Schouwburg I Deventer
10 - 14 feb 04 I Oude Luxor Theater I Rotterdam
06 - 08 feb 04 I De Meervaart I Amsterdam
04 & 05 feb 04 I Parktheater I Eindhoven
29 - 31 jan 04 I Theaters Tilburg I Tilburg
25 jan 04 I Theater aan de Parade I Den Bosch
20 jan 04 I Leidse Schouwburg I Leiden
14 - 16 jan 04 I Stadsschouwburg Utrecht I Utrecht
09 & 10 jan 04 I Theater aan het Spui I The Hague
07 jan 04 I Stadsgehoorzaal Vlaardingen Vlaardingen
02 & 03 jan 04 I Isala Theater I Capelle a/d IJssel

22 - 28 dec 03 I Rotterdamse Schouwburg I Rotterdam
21 - 21 dec 03 I De Brakke Grond I Amsterdam
11 dec 03 I De Brakke Grond I Amsterdam (première)
09 & 10 dec 03 I De Brakke Grond I Amsterdam (try-out)


24 may 13 I Nimes
23 may 13 I Merignac
22 may 13 I Merignac
20 apr 13 I Saint Maur
06 apr 13 I Saint Dizier
05 apr 13 I Thionville
04 apr 13 I Sausheim
28 mar 13 I La Fleche
08 mar 13 I Grande Synthe
05 mar 13 I Oloron Ste Marie
20 nov 12 I Les Ulis
16 nov 12 I Cabestany
30 sep - 31 dec 11 I Le Petit Théâtre de Paris I Paris
08 - 31 jul 10 I Festival d'Avignon
23 - 27 mar 10 Centre de Wallonie I Paris


17 apr 13 I Lugano


12 - 15 dec 12 I Place des Arts I Quebec
6 - 8 dec 12 I Place des Arts I Quebec 


28 may 11 I  Rebecq
05 - 23 apr 11 I Théâtre de Poche I Brussels

01 - 17 mar 10 I Théâtre de Poche I Brussels
19 - 20 mar 10 I Herve
13 mar 10 I Gembloux 
07 mar 10 I Malmédy 
05 mar 10 I Floreffe
11 - 13 feb 10 I Jette

27 sep 09 I Flémalle
25 - 27 apr 09 I Mons
16 - 24 apr 09 I Charleroi
mrt - apr 09 I Théâtre de Poche I Brussels

oct - dec 08 I Belgium tour 
sep - oct 08 I Théâtre de Poche I Brussels 
may 08 I Belgium tour 
jan - feb 08 I Belgium tour

09 dec 06 I De Warande I Turnhout
08 dec 06 I Stadsschouwburg Mechelen I Mechelen
07 dec 06 I Stadsschouwburg Sint-Niklaas I Sint-Niklaas
06 dec 06 I 30 CC I Leuven
02 dec 06 I GC Bree-Breughelzaal I Bree
01 dec 06 I CC de Kollebloem Puurs
25 nov 06 I CC Het Bolwerk I Vilvoorde
24 nov 06 I GC de Papeblok I Tervuren
23 nov 06 I CC De Kimpel I Bilzen
18 nov 06 I Raadzaal City Council I Halle
17 nov 06 I CC Gildhof I Tielt
16 nov 06 I CC de Brouckere I Torhout
15 nov 06 I CC Hasselt Hasselt
11 nov 06 I GC de Wildeman I Herent
10 nov 06 I CC Het Getouw I Mol
09 nov 06 I CC De Spil I Roeselaere
08 nov 06 I Auditory Limburghal I Genk
04 nov 06 I OC De Buiting I Paal-Beringen
03 nov 06 I CC De Plombloem I Ninove
02 nov 06 I De Kortrijkse Schouwburg Kortrijk
28 oct 06 I CC Hof Ten Hemelrijk I Opwijk
21 oct 06 I CC de Witte Merel I Lint
20 oct 06 I CC De Werf I Aalst
19 oct 06 I CC Leopoldsburg I Leopoldsburg
18 oct 06 I CC Westrand I Dilbeek
17 oct 06 I CC Ter Vesten I Beveren-Waas
14 oct 06 I CC De Schakel I Waregem
13 oct 06 I CC Lokeren I Lokeren
12 oct 06 I GC Tentakel I Zonhoven
11 oct 06 I Zuiderpershuis I Antwerpen
07 oct 06 I OC D'Annexe I Haan
06 oct 06 I CC Ter Dilft I Bornhem
06 oct 06 I CC De Valkaart I Oostkamp
04 oct 06 I De Centrale I Gent

17 apr 05 I Gelijke Kansen in Vlaanderen I Brussels
08 apr 05 I Het Paleis I Antwerpen
17 & 18 feb 05 I Centre for Arts Vooruit I Gent
27 - 29 jan 05 I Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg I Brussels
15 jan 05 I De Biekorf I Bruges
06 mar 04 I De Vieze Gasten I Gent


17 sep 12 I Hakaya festival I Amman
mar 05 I Amman International Theatre Festival I Amman


23 - 28 oct 07 I Yale University Theatre I New Haven
16 - 21 oct 07 I American Repetory Theatre I Boston
2 - 14 oct 07 I St. Ann's Warehouse I New York
sep 06 I IMPACT Reading Festival I New York
aug 07 I Shakespeare & Company I Lennox
may - jun 06 I Atlanta Theatre Festival I Atlanta
jan 06 I APAP Theatre Festival USA I New York
jan 06 I Under the Radar Festival I New York


21&22 nov 06 I Diyalog TheaterFest I Berlin


nov 05 I Studio Emad Eddin I Women Shelter Care I Caïro


nov 05 I Taksav Festival I Ankara

Veiled Monologues credits

Text and director I Adelheid Roosen
Acting coach I Titus Muizelaar
Actrices I Oya Capelle, Nazmiye Oral, Meral Polat
Music I Seval Okyay, Sercan Engin
Dramaturgy I Dirkje Houtman
Assistent director I Marjolein Polman
Scenography I Adelheid Roosen
Video I Adelheid Roosen, Mijke de Jong
Video editor I Titus Tiel Groenestege
Light design I Geldof, Verhaart & Den Ottolander
Composition 'The fifth day' and 'The Balloonman' I Adelheid Roosen, Seval Okyay
Turkish translation I Hanneke van der Heijden
Theatre technician I Seth Mook, Jasper Verhaart
Production I Mirjam Visser
Producer I Bos Theaterproducties I Female Economy
Research I Liesbeth Maas
Graphic design I Sander Plug, Johanna Koelman ArtsUnited
Playbill photography I Jouk Oosterhof 
Scene photography I Joris van Bennekom
Pictures I Jan Versweyveld, Cigdem Yuksel 


Text, director, mise-en-scène I Adelheid Roosen
Cast I Jamila Drissi, Hoonaz Ghojallu, Morgiane El Boubsi
Music I Hassiba Halabi
Coproducer I LP Productions, Alain Dierckx & Julie Desirant
Executive Producer I Catherine Mahéo
Press France I Aidem, Stéphane Letellier & Claire Fabre


Theater De Balie, Elly Ludenhof, Mieke Baars, Dolle Zina, Myriam Sahraoui, Amina Meliani, Samira Abbos, Maria S. Bouanani, Yasmine Allas, Meral Uslu, Naima El Bezaz, Naima Azough, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Funda Müjde, Nahed Selim, Ceylan Pektas-Weber, Basema Spijkerman-Salman, Hatice Kursun, Naema Tahir, Ola Mafaalani, Neel Staats, Kaltoum Boufangacha, Rachida Iaallala, Hulya Gerkakan, Hélène Cixous, Karin Peijnenburg, Madelon Hendriks, Erica Bilder, Lisa van Mansfelt, Karen Johnson, Vrouwenopvang Amsterdam, Islam en Burgerschap, Personal Health Club, Kemna Casting and Job Gosschalk.

Our special thanks go to all women who were willing to be interviewed and to Eve Ensler for her favour.

Financially supported by 

season 03-04 I Lira Fonds, Stichting Doen, VSB Fonds, Gemeente Almere
season 04-05 I Fonds voor Amateurkunst en Podiumkunsten, Stichting Doen (tournee langs Blijf Huizen)
season 08-09, 12-13 and 13-14 I Performing Arts Fund NL