MENA Arts UK Celebrates a London Home With a New Writing Programme.

This permanent artistic home in London allows them to grow events and projects that continue to support and champion the MENA+ community in the UK Arts Industry.

By: Jan. 09, 2023
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MENA Arts UK Celebrates a London Home With a New Writing Programme.

MENA Arts UK has announced their official residency at Theatro Technis @26 Crowndale. They will join other renowned companies: The Gate Theatre, Tamasha Theatre Company, Scene & Heard. This permanent artistic home in London allows them to grow events and projects that continue to support and champion the MENA+ community in the UK Arts Industry.

Kerry Kyriacos Michael who is the creative director of Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale says:

"It's brilliant that we can give a home to MENA Arts UK, an organisation I'm proud to have been one of the founding members of. We can now make space available to MENA+ creatives to develop their practice, have a place to hang out and where they can also rub shoulders with our other resident arts organisation that like us place developing new talent at the heart of what they do."

Their first project as a resident company is "Show Up and Write", a series of sessions where writers attend in-person or Zoom sessions and simply write for three hours and then come together for one hour to connect and discuss all things writing.

All MENA+ writers or writers with a "hyphenated" artist skill set or cultural background are welcome to apply for in-person or Zoom sessions. They'd love to hear what you're working on or other challenges/successes you're facing in the UK Arts Industry.

This initiative is in partnership with Hyphen Artist Collective and is spearheaded by Lanna Joffrey, Membership Lead for MENA Arts UK.

Joffrey says: "Often our busy schedules distract us from finding time to commit to writing what we want to write. SHOW UP & WRITE gives us the chance to commit and stick to that commitment. Writing can be a lonely pursuit; this opportunity gives us a chance to write in a community."

Sessions will consist of a three-hour free-writing session and an hour discussion, and will be facilitated by MENA Arts UK steering group members and Hyphen Artist Collective members.

Writers of all levels and experience are welcome.

MENA ARTS UK in association with Hyphen Artist Collective presents

"Show Up and Write"

A series of in person and hybrid writing sessions.

Sunday 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th February 2023

1pm to 4pm Writing

4pm to 5pm Community session/discussion

In-person sessions will take place at Theatro Technis (26 Crowndale Road, NW1 1TT).

Free! Please note that there will be a cap of 12 writers in person and 30 writers on Zoom, so be sure to apply to secure your place.

To apply, please email sharing a bit about yourself, your contact information, and whether you wish to attend in-person or Zoom sessions.

MENA Arts UK is a UK-based not-for-profit Arts organisation for professionals who work in Live & Recorded Arts and are connected to the Middle East, North Africa or the surrounding area. The organisation was founded just over a year ago and seeks to support MENA+ professionals to thrive in the arts by increasing access to opportunities, platforming and commissioning their work, lobbying for representation and advocating for change. The free online directory has over 250 profiles and the inaugural Heroes Project films have been viewed more than 14,000 times.

Theatro Technis @26 Crowndale is the original arts organization our values are based on. Founded in 1957 by George Eugeniou and a group of actors five decades ago, Theatro Technis first started its work in an old unused warehouse in the backyard of King's Cross. After many challenges, it finally found its permanent home in an old Church building, where it has flourished into a centre of multi-faceted and multi-cultural activities. It became one of the first venues in the UK dedicated to serving its local, working class and immigrant community back in the early '60s. Since then, it has remained home to international companies and independent artists. Theatro Technis' history in interwoven into the fabric of Cypriots' cultural identity in London and the UK, described as: "A jewel in the Heart of Camden becoming a theatre that is independent/awarding/maverick."

Hyphen Artist Collective celebrates hyphenated artists who have more than one skill set or passion or culture. In an industry that often pushes us to choose or be categorised as one career or identity over another, we encourage and applaud those artists from all over who work all over the industry. Are you a polycultural performer/writer/carpenter? BRAVA! Are you a singer/stage manager/designer? BRAVO! We are not one, but many.

Kerry Kyriacos Michael MBE (MENA Arts UK Founder & Chair and Creative Director of Theatro Technis)

Kerry, a second-generation British Cypriot, was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Stratford East from Sept 2004 to Sept 2017. For 13 years, he forged the theatre's commitment to develop new work and provide a platform for underrepresented voices in the Arts. In March 2018, Kerry won Artistic Director of The Year at the OFF WEST END Awards; was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours List, made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the Arts.

Kerry's theatre directing credits include new plays, musicals, and operas, including John Adam's I Was Looking At The Ceiling & Then I Saw The Sky (co-production with Barbican Centre, London), The Harder They Come (transferred to the West End & tours of Canada and USA), Ray Davies' Come Dancing (Winner What's On Stage Best New Musical) and a new production of The Who's Tommy - embedding creative BSL, Captioning and Audio Description, produced by Ramps On The Moon. (Winner UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production 16/17).

He works across the UK provides advice on diversity, equality, inclusion,
community, and culture to all sizes of organisations. He is the co-founder and chair of MENA Arts UK, a UK wide programme that champions UK professionals connected to the Middle East, North Africa, and the surrounding area. He is also on British Actor's Equity General Council and the British Council's Arts and Creative Economy Advisory group.

Founded in 2022, his production company Kyriacos and Company has several projects in development and on its slate. Many of these are passion projects that continue Kerry's commitment to developing new work that celebrates and champions diverse talent and voices.

Lanna Joffrey (MENA Arts UK Membership Lead & Founder of Hyphen Artist Collective) Lanna is an Iranian awarding-winning and critically acclaimed actor, spoken word performer and writer who has worked and studied extensively in the UK and US. She has enjoyed performing in theatre, film, audio projects and her spoken word, which has been published in print and online. Her verbatim docudrama, Valiant has toured throughout the UK/US (Edinburgh Fringe, New York Fringe, WOW Festival, JW3, InterAct Theatre & Women & War Festival) and was published recently by NoPassport Press. She is a member of The Factory (London) and Barefoot Theatre Company (New York City). She has performed in UK theatres such as Shakespeare's Globe, Gate Theatre, Tron, Traverse, Cervantes Theatre, Park Theatre, Pitlochry Festival, The Albany, Willow Globe, Hoxton Hall, Perth, Lemon Tree, Byre and Derby Theatre and US Theatres such as Playwrights Horizons, The Public, Old Globe, A.C.T., Seattle Rep, Arena Stage, Lyric Stage, Epic Theatre, The Kitchen, The Flea, CSF, Northern Stage, Urban Stages and Denver Center. AWARDS: NYFringe (Valiant), IRNE (Nine Parts of Desire) and Ovation Award (1001). TRAINING: MA Acting (Distinction): Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, BFA Acting: Syracuse University.


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