THE SONG OF DEBORAH by Deborah Freeman


Deborah, prophetess, poet, Judge of Israel, knew Sisera, captain of the Canaanite army, in childhood. War breaks out between Israelites and Canaanites, Israel triumphs, and Deborah needs to compose the victory poem. (Book of Judges, caps 4 & 5.)

The conflicts in this play are: 1. The simple: war between two tribes. 2. Deborah`s inner conflict. In childhood, she saw Canaanite gods, and cared for Sisera – now a defeated enemy. She prophesied that he would die at the hands of a woman. 3.The clash between Deborah and her Israelite captain Baraq. Baraq risked all in battle, and now wants to write the victory poem himself.

The account of this battle needs to record the truth, for all time. But whose truth?



Deborah……..Judge of Israel with the gift of Divine Prophecy.

Baraq……….Captain of the Israelite army.

Yael………..wife of Hever (Chief of the tribe of the Qenites.)

Sisera………Captain of the Canaanite army.

Baal……….Canaanite God of storms.

Anat………..Canaanite Goddess of battles

Yoav………Israelite man

Elisheva…….Israelite woman

Ruth……….. a young woman.



The Song of Deborah was staged first at Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead, 1993.

It was one of 3 plays which won the playwright an Arts Council Theatre Writing Bursary, in 1994.

Staged again in 1998 by C Gould Productions at Cockpit Theatre, London, and in April 2004 at Lion & Unicorn Theatre, London, Dir. Laurence Summers.

4th production: Studio Theatre, Lowry Centre, Salford, 2011. Dir. Abbey Wright.

2015 translated into Hebrew by Avital Macales. Staged at Khan Theatre Jerusalem. Sept 2016 by African Israeli Stage Company. Dir. Avi Assaraf.



The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, 2007.

The scout from Really Useful Theatres a large West End Company, wrote: “There is a fundamental bravery in Freeman`s play, and that is to have written a new play which can boast such a sweepingly epic backdrop , and broad discussion on: the nature of war and divided faiths; war and the way it is reported; propagandist consequences; personal tragedies peripheral to war. There is big matter in this play. The characters are exceptionally well drawn, especially those of Baraq and Sisera. The 3-way relationship between Deborah, Baraq and Sisera, which provides the dramatic backbone of the play, is intelligent and incisive. Whilst their dialogue discusses the greater narrative and the main-steak of the play, their subtext is fertile with personal and domestic grievances. The language is strong and the idea of poetry, fundamental to the play bleeds through the writing but is not heavy handed.”


Lowry Theatre Manchester – 2011

John Jeffay, of said: `An intriguing, passionate and defiantly non-traditional take….more girl-power and more gods than the original.. `A thoughtful and powerful piece..well-written and engaging…` *****



Approximately 2 hours including interval



Preview available here

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