creator and performer 

abu dhabi, uae

An autobiographical performance piece exploring the impact of religious social scripts on the performance of the female body. Drawing aesthetic imagery from Catholic performance practices and rituals, Novena depicts a recluse bride who imprisons herself in a church to atone for her sins. We watch as she processes her feelings of transgressional guilt in contention with her instinctual pleasures.

Exploring the impact of religious structures on a woman’s coming of age through prose, song, and dance, Novena questions the process of outgrowing and interrogating institutional beliefs ingrained in the female psyche.

Created as part of the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts and Humanities Capstone Festival, under the mentorship of Jon Bonner and Joanna Settle.

Performance postponed due to COVID-19.


Anushka Upadhyay, Zineb Louali, Boby Liu, William Mlekush

Photos: Daniel Rey (@danihrey)