SHUBBAK to Bring Contemporary Arab Culture to London This July

Shubbak, London's festival of contemporary Arab culture, has become a key event in the arts calendar of the UK and the Arab World, and 2017 will be the 4th edition of this biennial festival, running 1-16 July 2017.

It returns with a wide, diverse, exciting and thought-provoking programme celebrating extraordinary artistic skills and future- looking imaginations whilst reflecting on the fragility, resilience and challenges of artists in times of crisis. Shubbak grew out of the emergence of the 'Arab Spring' in 2011 and offers audiences the opportunity to engage with hopes, ambitions and artistic excellence from across the Arab world.

Eckhard Thiemann, artistic director of Shubbak says: At a time when the world feels more fragile and less secure, we have travelled far and wide and also looked in our own city to discover and commission Arab artists who reflect deeply on our times. There will be bold statements and brave works tackling urgent issues like migration and the desire for freedom, but we will also hear quiet, intimate and personal reflections which touch us with gentle emotions.

This year's festival showcases art, music, theatre, film, literature, debates, dance and spoken word. The festival includes over 150 artists, originating from 14 Arab countries at over 80 events during 16 days. Venues and partners for 2017 include Barbican, Sadler's Wells, Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, Serpentine Galleries, the British Museum, British Library, Royal Opera House, The Mosaic Rooms, Young Vic, Arcola Theatre, Gasworks, Cine Lumiere, Rich Mix and many more.

For 2017 Shubbak presents a number of theatre and dance UK premieres, which tell stories of how personal life is affected by political events. Based on autobiography, historical research and even nostalgia, these works explore the human dimension of challenging times.


AL ATLAL, NORAH KRIEF (UK PREMIERE)

TUE 4 JULY | 7.30PM

£15 | £13 concs

CINÉ LUMIÈRE INSTITUT FRANÇAIS 17 Queensberry Place SW7 2DT

INSTITUT-FRANCAIS.ORG.UK

FRENCH & ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Al Atlal means The Ruins. It is about The Remains of lost love and homeland. Actress and singer Norah Krief felt a burst of nostalgia remembering her mother listening to the Egyptian Diva Umm Kulthum on their record-player. Her joy of singing about nostalgia drove Norah Krief to create this personal and autobiographical work. She reinterprets Ibrahim Nagi's famous poem and includes testimonials of people who speak of their life in exile. She is accompanied by a trio of musicians: Frederic Fresson, Lucien Zerrad and Yousef Zayed. Norah Krief, has worked with many theatre writers and directors. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Molière award for Best Supporting Actress and recently appeared at the Barbican in Phèdre(s) by Krzysztof Warlikowski as part of LIFT.

Presented in partnership with Institut français du Royaume Uni as part of its series En Scène!

AND HERE I AM, HASSAN ABDULRAZZAK

MON 3 - SAT 8 JULY | 8PM

WED 5 & SAT 8 JULY | 3.30PM

£18 | £14 concs

ARCOLA THEATRE, 24 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL

ARCOLATHEATRE.COM (0207 503 1646)

POST-SHOW TALK WED 5 & FRI 7 JULY

Based on the actor Ahmed Tobasi's personal coming of age story, And Here I Am is an epic voyage of identity and self discovery. Combining fact and fantasy, tragedy and comedy, spanning both the first Palestinian intifada and the second, we follow him through his transformation from armed resistance fighter to artist, his journey as a refugee in the West Bank to Norway and then back again. This series of tragicomic episodes is vividly brought to life by award winning writer Hassan Abdulrazzak, transporting us to the heart of the hardships, struggles and contradictions of a young Palestinian man growing up under occupation and his pursuit for the true meaning of freedom.

Presented in partnership with Developing Artists and Arcola Theatre.

SHUBBAK ON TOUR: And Here I Am is touring nationally, for more details see visit developingartists.org.uk

TAHA, AMER HLEHEL

WED 5 - SAT 15 JULY | 7.45PM

WED 12 & SAT 15 JULY | 2.45PM

Press Night: Fri 7 July | 7pm

£20 | £10

THE MARIA, YOUNG VIC, 66 The Cut, SE1 8LZ

YOUNGVIC.ORG (020 7922 2922)

IN ENGLISH

A lyrical story of the life of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, written and performed by Amer Hlehel. Forced from his home in Galilee in 1948, Taha and his family must face the reality of war. At a young age he supports his family, immerses himself in literature, teaches himself Arabic - and falls in love. Growing up in a world where stability is only ever fleeting, poetry becomes a comforting constant. Amir Nizar Zuabi (The Beloved, I Am Yusuf and This Is My Brother), founder of celebrated theatre company ShiberHur, returns to the Young Vic to direct this London premiere.

An Amer Hlehel, Young Vic and Shubbak Festival co-production. Taha is supported by A.M. Qattan Foundation and was developed, in part, at the 2015 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at the Sundance Resort

SHUBBAK ON TOUR: SAT 1 JULY | 8PM QUAYS THEATRE THE LOWY, SALFORD THELOWRY.COM

SACRÉ PRINTEMPS!, CIE CHATHA (UK PREMIERE)

WED 5 JULY | 6 & 7.30PM Southbank Centre SQUARE Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX

THU 6 JULY | 1, 4 & 6.30PM BRITISH LIBRARY PIAZZA 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB

FREE

Inspired by the hopes and pressures of building a new civil society, choreographers Aïcha M'Barek and Hafiz Dhaou create a visceral streetscape of today's Tunisia. Featuring life-sized silhouettes by seminal street artist Bilal Berreni (Zoo-project), which appeared on Tunis' main avenue after the revolution, Sacré Printemps! celebrates the diverse individuals who fought for their civil rights. Five dancers jostle, fight and compete among over 30 cut-out sculptures but also joyfully unite in their strife to join different voices and individualities into one hope. In this piece the choreographers use a musical score composed by Eric Aldéa and Yvan Chiossone and interpreted by Sonia M'Barek, one of Tunisia's major singers. The dancers' bodies move against the music, with a unifying, merging energy, evocative of Tunisia's revolution - as if to liberate this Spring that struggles to find its place.

Aïcha M'Barek and Hafiz Dhaou met at Sybel Ballet Theatre in 1995 and founded Cie Chatha in 2005 in Lyon, building a common choreographic language emerging from their dualities. Cie Chatha provides them with a platform to speak up, as attentive observers to the developments in Europe and Tunisia.

Presented in partnership with The Place and the Southbank Centre. Co-presented with The Place. Additional support from Institut Français and Ville de Lyon.

SHUBBAK ON TOUR: SUN 9 JULY | 1, 2 & 3PM LIVERPOOL ARAB ARTS FESTIVAL

OPEN EYE GALLERY. WINTER GARDEN, ARABARTSFESTIVAL.COM

DISPLACEMENT, MITHKAL ALZGHAIR (UK PREMIERE)

THU 6 & FRI 7 JULY | 8PM | £17

LILIAN BAYLIS STUDIO SADLER'S WELLS, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN

SADLERSWELLS.COM ( 020 7863 8000)

How does a body react when its movement is forced or prevented? In Displacement, Syrian dancer and choreographer Mithkal Alzghair examines the body in the context of war, migration and revolution. Featuring three dancers, the work is defined by conflicting emotions; the hope of escaping versus the uneasiness of knowing that to return is impossible. This poignant piece is also Alzghair's investigation into the folklore of his homeland and how it has been shaped by its political reality. Drawing from traditional Syrian folk dances, he highlights the paradox of a deeply rooted culture, forced to migrate. Alzghair trained in Damascus and Montpellier, having fled to France to avoid military service. In Displacement, he offers a striking reflection on the experience of fleeing and the uncertainty of life in exile.

Presented in partnership with Sadler's Wells with additional support from Institut français du Royaume Uni as part of its series En Scène! Photo: Tanz im August, Dajana Lothert 2016.

CORBEAUX, BOUCHRA OUIZGUEN (UK PREMIERE)

FRI 14 JULY | 8 & 9.30PM SERPENTINE GALLERIES* Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA

SAT 15 JULY | 2 & 5PM TATE MODERN South Terrace, Bankside, SE1 9TG

FREE

"I wanted to take over the streets and fill them with a horde of crows. Like an immediate act, a sound sculpture, raw and urgent, resounding infinitely." Bouchra Ouizguen

A group of women emerge, silently they arrive, then come to a halt. Forming geometric alchemical arrangements they move again and again, now accompanied by their piercing sounds and extraordinary cries in a stirring performance of movement and sound. Drawing from Persian literature from 9th - 11th century and memories of long trance nights in Marrakech, Bouchra Ouizguen has created an intense performance that interrupts and takes possession of public spaces. Corbeaux is performed by ten women from Morocco and up to ten local performers, brought together by Serpentine Galleries to work with Bouchra Ouizguen for the London performances. Corbeaux was commissioned by Marrakech Biennale 2014 for the city's railway station, and has since toured internationally including the Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Kampnagel (Hamburg), Home Works (Beirut) and The Louvre in Paris.

Part of Park Nights, the Serpentine Pavilion's annual series of summer events.

Presented in partnership with Serpentine Galleries and Tate Modern. With additional support from: Bagri Foundation, Fluxus Art Projects, Embassy of The Kingdom of Morocco UK and Amal - A Said Foundation Project.

Performance(s) between Two Shores is a series of three new works from Arab theatre artists who are now creating in Europe. Commissioned by 6 partners and funded by the European Commission, these works tour internationally and develop new audiences for Arab theatre artists in Europe.

TRANSACTION, MITHKAL ALZGHAIR (UK PREMIERE)

MON 10 JULY | 7.30PM|£12

HACKNEY SHOWROOM Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT

HACKNEYSHOWROOM.COM 020 3095 9747 £12

Mithkal Alzghair presents his newest creation: a meditation on the power of images from conflict situations. Performed in a warehouse and suspended in harnesses from the ceiling, four performers from Syria and France create fragile and emotional states of active and passive bodies. With a live soundtrack created purely by the performers' voices, Mithkal Alzghair conjures up a delicate state of being that whispers louder than cries of pain. As the action gradually rises from the horizontal to the vertical, we are drawn towards the individual human being.

Presented in partnership with Hackney Showroom. Performance(s) between two shores is supported by the European Commission.

MIND, THE GAP, HANI SAMI & FOR THE ABSENT ONES, PARALLEL CROSSINGS UK PREMIERES

TUE 11 & WED 12 JULY | 8PM|£12

ARCOLA THEATRE 24 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL

ARCOLATHEATRE.COM (0207 503 1646)

IN ENGLISH AND ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Mind, the Gap is a lecture/performance on how we perceive and consume images in our current age. A collaboration between two key figures of Cairo's independent theatre scene, theatre director Hani Sami and choreographer and writer Mona Gamil; Mind, The Gap intertwines live performance, theoretical musings and visual projections. Focusing on iconic images from the last decades, the performance will guide audiences on a journey of intellect, trauma and catharsis. Hani Sami is a film and theater maker with a BA in Theatre from the American University in Cairo and an MA in Filmmaking from l'École Supérieure d'Audiovisuel in Toulouse.

Created as an audio-experience by theatre artists Abdullah Alkafri (Syria), Moez Mrabet (Tunisia), Jon Davis and Jonathan May (UK). For The Absent One is a response to tightening borders and restrictions on travel. Equipped with headphones and entering a theatre space, the audience listens to moving voices of those unable to move freely. Presented in partnership with Arcola Theatre.

THREE ROOMS, AMAL OMRAN, HATEM HADAWE & KATHRYN HAMILTON (WORLD PREMIERE)

FRI 14 & SAT 15 JULY | £12

8PM ARCOLA THEATRE 24 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL

ARCOLATHEATRE.COM 0207 503 1646 £12

IN ENGLISH WITH SOME ARABIC

Three Rooms is a live film that takes place simultaneously in Istanbul, London and Paris, with one performer in each location. Originally the trio were planning to stage a play, but the changing political landscape meant that two of the performers couldn't get visas. Refusing to replace those unable to travel, they began to experiment with ways of working that could overcome the physical restrictions, creating a new kind of live-ness for this new world. Three Rooms invites the audience into the quiet intimacies of daily life when you are essentially confined to your room - making tea, reading books, smoking cigarettes while watching the seagulls over Istanbul roof-tops, or watching the grey clouds over the Paris suburbs. It gestures towards the irreplaceability of people, and the impossibility of representing their experience without them.

Presented in partnership with Arcola Theatre. In partnership with: Les Bancs Publics - Festival Les Rencontres à l'échelle (FR), BOZAR (BE), Dancing on the edge (NL), Globalize: Cologne platform for dance & theater (DE), SEE Foundation (SE) - D-CAF Festival (EG).


For more information, visit www.shubbak.co.uk, or follow on Twitter: @shubbakfestival and Facebook: /shubbakfestival.

Shubbak is led by Eckhard Thiemann, artistic director, and Dan Gorman, executive director. Principal partners for Shubbak 2017 are A. M. Qattan Foundation, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC, British Council and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Shubbak invited a number of specialist curators and collaborators to develop particular strands in this year's programme. These include leading music promoter marsm (music), renowned translator Alice Guthrie (Literature), BAFTA nominated film producer Elhum Shakerifar (film) as well as Nehna Wel Amar Wel Jiran artistic directors Aurélien Zouki and Eric Deniaud and choreographers Sofiane & Selma from Dream City.

The board of trustees comprises:
Aaron Cezar, Director, The Delfina Foundation
David Freeman, Consultant, Thomas Eggar LLP
Noreen Abu Oun
Robin Start, Owner, The Park Gallery
Lynn Gaspard, Director, Saqi Books
Roxane Zand, Sotheby's Deputy Chairman for the Middle East
Chair: Maysoon Pachachi



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