Sharjah – The Arab Theater Commission announced in a statement the activities of the 14th session of the Arab Theater Festival in Baghdad from January 10 to 18, 2024, in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, Iraqi artists. Syndicate, and Cinema and Theater Department.
With more than 600 theatergoers participating from Iraq, other Arab countries and parts of the world, the commission said the session will be the biggest session of the festival since its inception. Huge in numbers and intensive activities around the clock for nine days. Playwrights from twenty-one Arab countries, including Djibouti and Somalia, are participating in the session, including first-timers.
The festival will begin on January 10 with a grand ceremony that will see several important events, where eighty-six Iraqi artists will present an artwork titled “Temples of Love and Peace” prepared by Iraqi partners. Lebanese artist Nidal Al-Ashkar will receive the Arab Theater Day message, having written specifically for the festival, while twenty-three Iraqi theater figures will be honored.
Twenty theater performances will participate in this session of the festival, which is qualified in high competition and has significant artistic experiences and feelings, thirteen of which are competing for the Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi Award, while the performances will begin with “Gaza Metro”. From Palestine.
A special symposium titled “Theatre and Cultural Resistance in Palestine” will be organized on the first day of the festival. The session will see an intellectual field organized over eight days. It will see an expanded intellectual conference. Thirty-six researchers and artists will participate.
The festival will feature a special symposium for displaced Iraqi playwrights titled “Influence and Influence,” in which thirteen Iraqi artists from around the world will participate. A juried symposium will also be organized for the final stage of the Arab Competition for Science Drama. Research for 2023 and it will be conducted by the College of Arts in Baghdad University, in front of a jury, competitors and college professors and students.
The closing ceremony will honor thirty-four winners of the Arab Theater Commission's writing and scientific research competitions for the years 2020-2023. In addition to the theatrical performances, this session will showcase twenty books by Iraqi researchers and creators published by the Authority during the festival, making them an important addition to the library of Arabic theater publications.
The Authority regulates the “Analysis Studio” as a new format of presentations, where views, discussions and analysis between expert critics and staff take place in a furnished studio, and the proceedings of the Analysis Studio are broadcast. live
The festival will also witness massive media activity through the Press Conference Centre, which will keep pace with events taking place 24 hours a day across visual, audio, written and electronic media and local, Arabic and non-Arabic platforms and stations. Sixteen hours a day of space, all broadcast live.
The programs will host three theaters (Al-Rasheed, Al-Mansoor and Al-Watani), and nine theaters will host the festival's activities over nine days. The days of the festival have been increased in this session. According to the general direction of the stakeholders in organizing this session, it should be nine instead of seven.
Ismail Abdullah, Secretary General of the Arab Theater Commission, while announcing the activities of the festival at the fourteenth session, said, “Theater is our torch when the darkness shows, it lights the path for us, it is ours. The anniversary is a key foundation for achieving our perpetual motto of 'Towards a New and Renewed Arab Theater'.
He added, “Our festival and theater is a declaration of our nation's vitality and the ability of our creators to lead the way in enlightenment and discover new things. Our theater is a theater connected with the problems of its nation and works for its progress. Its culture and every year the festival continues, crosses a new path, and a wider horizon awaits our new dates.
Since its first session launched in 2009 with the participation of 14 theater programs from several Arab countries, the festival has distinguished itself at the institutional and artistic levels, annually presenting works considered icons of Arab theater throughout its history. Not satisfied with performances, but seeks to develop the theater movement through awards for performances, and for research and theater texts, in addition to annual publications of books that raise the most important issues of Arab theater.
All of this falls within the work of the Arab Theater Commission, which publishes dozens of theatrical titles annually, and promotes playwriting through a playwriting competition and oversight of the Arab Theater Journal, and continues to emphasize the importance of supporting youth. Another dimension is finding a place for people to explore their energies and present their ideas in light of the fossilization of official institutions today. The new session of the festival is considered a real return from Morocco, retracing its usual annual route to the Arab capital with each session.
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