Ahmed El Attar
Ahmed El Attar is an Egyptian independent theatre director, translator, playwright and cultural manager. He is the founder and general manager of Studio Emad Eddin Foundation as well as the founder and artistic director of Orient Productions, the Temple Independent Theatre Company and Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF). He is also the artistic director of Falaki Theatre in Cairo. A graduate of the American University in Cairo, his various theatre works have been performed in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Sweden, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, the United Kingdom and the UAE. ‘F**K Darwin or How I Have Learned to Love Socialism (2007)’ received the Best Actor’s award at the 22nd edition of the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre and his latest play ‘The Last Supper’ is in the official selection of the 69th edition of the Avignon International Theatre Festival (2015) and the Festival D’Automne in Paris (2015) making it the first Egyptian play ever to be programmed in both festivals. In January 2010, El Attar received the prize for best theatre text from the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development for his play ‘Life is Beautiful or Waiting for My Uncle From America’. In 2013 he received the pioneers of Egypt award from Synergos Foundation (USA).
Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi
Born in Algiers and operating from Brussels, Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi is a curator, dramaturge and documentary filmmaker. She has performed as a member of the theatre company Dito’Dito in Brussels and worked as a member of the artistic team of the Brussels City Theatre, KVS. Till 2013, she was programmer at the European Cultural Centre Les Halles, where she contributed to a program on Contemporary Literature and Performing arts of the Arab world. In 2013, she was associate curator of “DabaMaroc” the artistic contemporary Moroccan season in Belgium. She was involved as guest curator in ‘Casablanca-Energie noire’ within Mons 2015, Cultural Capital of Europe.From 2014 onwards, she has been associate curator of “On Marche…edition” the International Contemporary Dance Festival of Marrakech. Nedjma is actively involved in projects with young Arab dancers: dramaturgy of performances, research and documenting, curatorship and publications.
Hailing from Syrian-Iraqi origins, Jumana Al-Yasiri has fifteen years of experience designing and implementing residencies, music festivals, theatre productions, conferences, grants and training programs for artists and cultural practitioners. She is a Paris-based performing arts manager, curator, panellist, researcher and translator, working between Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and the United States. In 2015, Jumana was appointed as the Middle East and North Africa Manager at the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, co-leading the development and the implementation of the program’s outreach in the region and beyond. Board Member of the Roberto Cimetta Fund for Artistic Mobility in the Euro-Arab Region, and member of the Board of Trustees of Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival, Jumana holds a BA in Theatre Studies from Damascus Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts, and an MA in Comparative Literature from the University Paris VIII. In 2017, Jumana was also selected to be part of the inaugural Fellows cohort at The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University.
Artistic Director Sundance Institute Theatre Program
Since 1997, Philip has overseen all aspects of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. Under his aegis, the Institute’s developmental theatre labs have supported hundreds of artists and new plays and musicals that have gone on to production and acclaim at regional theatres across the U.S., including Broadway, and at international venues.
The Theatre Program’s core International work currently focuses on an ongoing interaction with Arabic language theatre makers across the Mediterranean basin, in North Africa, the Middle East and those MENA artists now living in the EU. Sundance has hosted theatre labs across the region and will soon engage in a Residency with
Syrian playwright newcomers to Germany and Europe.
As a playwright, Philip’s most recent play PAPER DOLLS received its world premiere at the Tricycle Theatre in London and will have its U.S. premiere at the Mosaic Theatre in DC next season. Philip co-wrote and directed CARRY IT ON, a solo show for Maureen McGovern and the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Some Men at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, among others. He is a former Tony Award Nominator and Past President of the Board of TCG (Theatre Communications Group). He has taught at NYU Tisch and the Yale Drama School.
Geoliane Arab (Lebanon) - Independent cultural manager - Strategy & development consultant Selected by Sciences Po Paris for WOMED 2015 (Women of the Mediterranean: Future generation of leaders), Geoliane studied law alongside theatre and performing arts at the Lebanese University and was trained in contemporary dance. She has worked as a performer, exterior eye and assistant director with local and international artists, between 2006 and 2012. She has collaborated with several international organisations on mapping the Lebanese cultural scene and identifying valuable actors and projects, thus creating opportunities for international exchange and development. She has been jury member, moderator and speaker at different international forums. She co-directed Spring Festival 2016 (LB) and organised the IETM Satellite meeting in Beirut on freedom of expression among others. Formerly cooperation manager for the Middle East at Moussem (BE), Geoliane curates and produces professional programs of international festivals (Us, the moon & the Neighbours Festival 2015 (LB), Exodos Festival 2017 (SI), Shubbak Festival 2017 (UK)). She is currently strategy and development manager at Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival (LB) and Hammana Artist House (LB). Geoliane is also member of the board of directors of IETM (International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (BE)) and member of the advisory committee of Pro Helvetia Cairo.
Natasja van ’t Westende
Natasja van ’t Westende is the artistic and managing director of Dancing on the Edge, an Amsterdam based organization that presents and promotes contemporary (performing) arts from (or Since 2007 Dancing on the Edge presents a biennial, multi-city, multidisciplinary festival. Next to the festival, Dancing on the Edge arranges performance tours, training programs, workshops, artistic residencies, co-productions, educational and participation programs, film screenings, debates and other activities throughout the year. Van ‘t collaborations with) the Middle East and North Africa. Westende is also director of West-End-Art and works as arts manager, programmer/curator, researcher, concept developer, adviser and fundraiser in the field of performing (and visual) arts.
Eckhard Thiemann is artistic director of Shubbak, London’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture (www.shubbak.co.uk) . He is also Programming Associate – Dance for The Lowry, one of UK’s largest arts centres (www.thelowry.com) . He is also Associate Artistic Curator for the Oslo International Dance Festival 2017 - CODA (www.codadancefest.no). He was a producer for the London 2012 Festival , curated the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival (2011), OUTSPOKEN – NEW PERFORMANCE FROM ARAB ARTISTS (2010) and African Crossroads for Dance Umbrella (2009). He programmed the first season for Pavilion Dance and was artistic director of Woking Dance Festival, and Year Of The Artist coordinator for South East Arts.
Marina Barham, cofounder and General Director of Al-Harah Theater, and Al-Harah Performing Arts Training Center (PARC), Vice president of the Palestinian Performing Arts Network, Palestine. Vice President of Euromedinculture Network and a member in TAMASI Collective for Performing arts Organizations from the MENA Region. An active cultural operator in Palestine, the Middle East and in Europe. A Trainer in the field of Cultural Management in the Arab World. A speaker at several European conferences, festivals and events on the importance of performing arts in Palestine and the Arab world. Produced and Managed many theater productions and coproductions, local, regional and international tours. Managed several Euro-med Projects funded by the EU and organized Yalla Yalla International Children and Youth Theater Festival & Street festival in Palestine.
Henri jules Julien
Henri jules Julien is a French director, writer, translator, radio maker, producer, living in Cairo. His last theater show - De la justice des poissons, in French and Arabic - was created in 2016 in Switzerland and is touring France and Egypt until 2018. His next project for 2019 is a comedy of Orientalist manners. He collaborates extensively with stage artists from the Middle East that he produces on European stages.
Rolf C. Hemke
Rolf C. Hemke is a dramaturg, curator and writer based in Cologne / Germany. He has been responsible for the international programme (festival „theatre landscapes“, turkish season „istanbul sahnesi“ and concert series „soundscapes“) at Theater an der Ruhr in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany since 2007. Since 2010 he has been cocurating as well Luxemburg´s Fundamental theatre festival. From 1992 to 2002, he was a freelance cultural journalist for Frankfurter Rundschau, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Wiener Standard, and public radio broadcasters, amongst others. From 2014 to 16 he was freelancing as artistic advisor for Vienna festival with an emphasis on Africa and the Arab world. As a frelance dramaturg and translator he is working in 2017 for companies like Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, Theater Freiburg, National theatre of Luxemburg. Besides numerous other publications, he released the bilingual research volumes ‘Theatre in Sub-Saharan Africa,’ published by Theater der Zeit, in 2010 and `Theatre in the Arab World´as well published by Theater der Zeit in 2013 and in French by Sud editions Tunis in 2015.
Henry Bell is a writer and editor from Bristol, working in poetry and theatre. He lives on the Southside of Glasgow and edits Gutter Magazine. He was a Clydebuilt poet and has edited books including A Bird is Not a Stone, an anthology of Palestinian poetry in translation. His latest work is Haneen, a Cairene adaptation of Aladair Gray’s 1982, Janine, co-written with Sara Shaarawi. You can find out more at henryjimbell.com or @henbell
Hassan El Geretly
Hassan El Geretly is a theatre director who has also worked in cinema. After studing theatre and French literature at the University of Bristol (U.K), he then received a higher diploma in audio-visual staging (cinema, video and radio) from the Sorbonne University in Paris. He has worked in the fields of theatre and cinema since the 1970’s in France and Egypt. He worked as an actor and assistant director, then as director in the Centre Dramatique National du Limousin in France. He founded the touring theatre company Les Tréteaux de la Terre et du Vent which toured France between 1975 and 1980. In 1987, El Geretly founded El Warsha theatre company in Egypt. In 1988, he was appointed director of the first experimental theatre in Cairo. He resigned in 1992 to devote himself entirely to independent theatre.