Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nidal Al Achkar in El Wewiyeh directed by Nagy Souraty

Al Madina Theatre





a theatre performance directed by Nagy Souraty
after texts by Bertolt Brecht adapted and translated by Elie Adabachi

The Arab World is changing at a very high speed, we do not know if the so called springs can still be considered springs or if they turned into wars.
Lebanon finds itself in the very privileged and awkward position of the witness, a witness who is in the middle of it all. Being witnesses, and not wanting to take part in what is happening to us, and not wanting to take advantage of it while some are doing so, we are bound to reflect on it. 
The theatre imposes itself as the best space to share our thoughts and contemplate on what is happening along with the audience. 

About the performance

a theatre performance directed by Nagy Souraty
after texts by Bertolt Brecht adapted and translated by Elie Adabachi
music created & performed by Abed Kobeissi and Ali Hout 
with singing improvisations by Khaled El Abdallah

will be performed at Al Madina Theatre 
in December 2013 before touring the Arab
and the western world

This performance uses texts from Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage, transposed in a way to mirror problematics of the Arab World today, with the unconventional use of musical interference and puppetry; the characters reflect stories of its citizens. The richness, pride and betrayals of the culture tread on a new path in questioning the truths in a fluid world.

Nidal Al Achkar interprets the role of El Wewiyeh. El Wewiyeh has three sons. Her eldest son is interpreted by Khaled El Abdallah, who communicates through speech and songs. Her two other sons, interpreted by Abed Kobeissi and Ali Hout communicate through music. The other characters are interpreted by Hadi Deaibess who uses puppetry. 

This performance tackles social issues using dark humor. Through her journey, El Wewiyeh will try to expose her views about war and peace unto her children, and the other people she meets on the road. She explains that during wars her instinct for survival made her a trader. 

The performance is approximately 65 minutes long.

Nidal Al Achkar

Nidal Al Achkar is a Lebanese artist who played a leading role in launching the theatre and Cultural movement in Lebanon, and the Arab world. 

As an actor and director, Nidal graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. It was her encounter with the legendary Joan Littlewood that changed her view on theatre and life.  Nidal contributed as an actress and director, through her body of work to transforming Lebanese theatre from its elitism to a more reachable and popular form.  She has also performed in a number of important T.V. productions and films.
Nidal participated in many lectures, discussions, conferences, and seminars concerning cultural issues, including, theatre, social, political, gender, and the arts. 

Nidal Al Achkar livened up Arab poetry, and promoted verse to communicate with the public. She received several honors, most notably the High Honors of Culture from the President of Tunis as well as a Knight of Arts and Letters, by the French Government.
Nidal had the leading role opposite, the Noble Prize winner, Wole Soyinka at the TNP in a play directed by Joan Littlewood. She was in Yemen to do a reading with Noble Prize winner Günter Grass, as he read his work in German, Nidal was reading his poetry in Arabic. 

A cultural provocateur to the core, she founded with a group of artists “The Beirut Theatre Workshop” in the late 1960s. She dealt boldly with contemporary social, political and regional issues. In the mid-80s, Nidal established from Amman, Jordan, the “Arab Actors” theatre company, which included 13 different Arab countries. They toured the Arab world and crowned their tours in London’s Royal Albert Hall. 
Nidal established Al Madina Theatre, in 1994, which became the center of gravity for culture and art in Beirut. 

Dame Nidal, as the Arab press likes to call her, is the head of the Board of the Trustees, as well as the Founder and Director of Masrah Al-Madina Cultural and Arts Center. 

Khaled Al Abdallah

Khaled El Abdallah was born in Kefershuba. He has pursued the knowledge of music since a young age. 
He participated in many television shows. 
In 1993 he won the first place in the Tarab category in 'Studio El Fan’. 
Khaled holds a degree in acting and a degree in law. 
After working as a lawyer for three years, he was given an ultimatum by the Lebanese Bar Association: either practice law or pursue an artistic career. From 2005 until 2013 he taught sound engineering at the Lebanese University. 
He created a software that generates infinite number of melodies based on algorithms to which he received a patent. 
He also worked as a journalist in Al Nahar newspaper for 4 years as a music critic. 

Abed Kobeissy

Born in Beirut in 1982, Abed is a buzuq player and holds a Masters degree in musicology.
Among the several groups specialized in traditional Arabic music that he founded in Beirut are ‘Ensemble Mayal’ and ‘Ahl El-Hawa’. 
He is a member of ‘Ensemble Asil’ and ‘The Great Departed’.
He also contributed as a member in western music Lebanese 
Bands. Abed participated in several Arabic and International festivals. 

Ali Hout

Born in Beirut in 1985, Ali is a percussionist and an actor.
He holds a Graduate degree in acting.
He is a member of "Ensemble Asil" and "The Great Departed" for Arabic music. 
Ali participated in several Arabic and International festivals.

Hadi Deaibess

Hadi is a Lebanese actor, musician and street performer. He studied acting at the Lebanese University. He started his career as an actor in 2008, and has worked as an actor, a puppeteer, a musician, and a set designer. Hadi studied traditional West African music in Lebanon and Guinea Conakry and now is a member or Jebebara Unity Drum group. He is a hospital clown doctor since 2009, and works as a clown, juggler, mime and musician.

Elie Adabachi

Elie Adabachi has been involved in numerous productions playing several vital roles. As a director, he filmed a television drama series in 
Syria, a documentary film in Yemen, a TV movie in Lebanon which won a Murex D'Or for best TV movie in 2008, and two TV series in Lebanon. 
Elie also directed many advertising, documentary and corporate films for several companies. 
He was a Second Unit and Assistant Director for movies in Cyprus, Italy and Greece as well as the assistant director on Schloëndorff's film Die Fälschung. 
He was a mentor at ALBA University for seminars on directing, production, schedule and shooting as well as following up Masters students with their projects.
Elie has a long history working alongside Maroun Baghdadi, Youssef Chahine, Samir Nasri and others. He has a certificate from the Actor Studio in Los Angeles. 

Nagy Souraty

Nagy Souraty was born in Beirut. He obtained his masters of Arts in Drama and Theatre Studies from the Royal Holloway University of London in 1998.
Theatre director and actor, he is known as the Didaskalos. Nagy has been teaching since 1992. 
He taught at the Lebanese American University between 2001 & 2011, where he directed every year a Major Theatre Production. These productions have been acknowledged by the press & the audiences to have taken university theatre in Lebanon to the level of the professional scenes.
He is the coordinator of the artistic education at the Collège Protestant Français, where he has been teaching Theatre & Audiovisual since 1992.
Nagy Souraty is the Artistic Director & board member at the Al Madina Theatre in Beirut. 
He is also co-founder and President of AFPA (AGONISTIK for performing arts - NGO -  license No.908-19/05/2011)
Curator & director of theatre workshops, he participated in many festivals & residences of artists (Avignon, Beirut, Tunis, Damascus, Caen, Vienna, Kuwait, Morocco). 
His experimentation in theatre is institutionalized and recognized as the “Theatre of the Edge”.

Bertolt Brecht 1898 – 1956

Born in Germany, Brecht had been an ambulance driver during the first world war, an experience that made him despise the war. 
He is best known for his plays and poems, in which he embraced anti-bourgeois themes. 
Brecht developed a new approach to the theatre, being famously responsible for arising Epic Theatre. 
He says of this theatrical form, "It is most important that one of the main features of the ordinary theatre should be excluded from Epic Theatre: the engendering of illusion." 
The epic form describes both a type of written drama and a methodological approach to the production of plays. 

Mother Courage and her children 1939

Mother Courage is considered to be the greatest anti-war play of all time. 
It places the audience in judgment of the actions of a woman who lives in a universe defined by war. She often makes cataclysmic choices. 
She refuses to understand the nature of her tragic circumstances; fearing to look back as she assumes it weakens her. 
The play imposes a gradually lonelier world for Mother Courage to live in; it becomes merciless with each choice she makes. But for her, as for us, life goes on.

El Wewiyeh begins as of the 4th of December 2013
at 9:00pm sharp! (doors will be locked at 9:00pm)
every Thursday, Friday and Saturday

tickets on sale at
01 999 666

Monday, October 21, 2013

DRAMATURGY workshop with Hanan Kassab Hassan -AFPA-January2014- @almadinaTHEATRE

conducted by Hanan Kassab Hassan 
organized by AFPA - AGONISTIK for performing arts
in collaboration with 
Al Madina Theatre Association For Arts & Culture 
ATTC - Arab Theatre Training Centre
TAMASI performing arts collective
MISHKAL festival

حصلت حنان قصاب حسن على الدكتوراه في المسرح من جامعة السوربون في فرنسا (1982) وقامت بتدريس سميولوجيا المسرح والفنون البصرية في عدد من الجامعات منها جامعة دمشق والجامعة اليسوعية في بيروت. كذلك شغلت منصب مدير عام أوبرا دمشق (2009-2011) وأمين عام احتفالية دمشق عاصمة الثقافة العربية
(2007-2009) وعميد المعهد العالي للفنون المسرحية (2006-2009). لها عدد كبير من الأبحاث والكتب من أهمها معجم المسرح، مفاهيم المسرح وفنون العرض، كما أنها ترجمت مسرحيات جينيه وبيكيت وكولتيس وسعدالله ونوس من وإلى الفرنسية

Hanan Kassab-Hassan
PhD in theatre and drama studies from the Sorbonne, she is professor of Semiotics of Visual Arts and Theatre at Damascus University and Saint Joseph University in Beirut.
Kassab-Hassan was also General Manager of Damascus Opera House (2009-2011), General Secretary of Damascus Arab Capital of Culture (2007-2009), and Dean of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts (2006-2009). She wrote many books and articles about theatre and fine arts, among which "Dictionary of theatre, terms and concepts of theatre and performing arts" (2007). She translated also many plays of Genet, Koltes, Beckett and Saadallah Wannous.

Titulaire d'un doctorat de théâtre de la Sorbonne (1982), Hanan Kassab-Hassan s'est consacrée pendant 38 ans à l'enseignement de la sémiologie du théâtre et des arts visuels. Elle a occupé les postes de Directrice Générale de l'Opéra de Damas (2009-2011), de Secrétaire Générale de Damas Capitale Arabe de la Culture (2007-2009), et de Doyenne de l'Institut Supérieur des Arts Dramatiques de Damas (2006-2009). Elle a traduit plusieurs pièces de théâtre (Genet, Koltès, Beckett, Saadallah Wannous) et écrit un grand nombre d'articles et de recherches dont ''Le Dictionnaire de théâtre, termes et concepts du théâtre et des arts dramatiques'' (1997).

4 sessions of 5 hours each,
January, 11, 12, 18, 19, 2014
from 2:00pm till 7:00pm

participation fees: 99.000 LBP
(AFPA members: 44.000 LBP)


applications should be sent to:
cc to:

Deadline for the submission of applications is on Friday December 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm


for more info: + 961 70 72 71 78

Join the Facebook page for this event for further updates and information:


Organizing a festival for all arts,
a festival for the youth and by the youth, in Septembre 2013,
in the heart of Beirut and making it happen, is our statement, is the statement of Al Madina Theatre.
Everybody was asking us if we were indifferent to what was happening around us.
Everybody was asking us how can we organize a festival in Beirut, despite what is happening around us?
Our answer was: it is precisely because we are not indifferent to what is happening in the world today that we are organizing this festival,
and that we want this festival to happen.
And here we are tonight, and our festival is happening.

a kaleidoscope,
a kaleidoscope of ideas, of forms, of colors,
a kaleidoscope of artists,
a kaleidoscope of young people coming from all the universities in Lebanon,
a kaleidoscope of generations,
If all these kaleidoscopes landed in Al Madina Theatre, it is not a coincidence. It is because Al Madina Theatre was created to become a platform for all arts, a platform of all arts.
Since its creation, Al Madina Theatre, had in its vision the youth,
its aim was to become their platform.
And here they are, the army of young people, occupying the theatre and making it their home.
F. Scott Fitzgerald says: "Youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness." This chemistry between youth and art is mad indeed, but it takes two to tango, we adults also acknowledge our madness.
This chemistry between the madness of two generations makes the dream come true,
and our festival came true.
Last year with the help of the European Union, and this year with the help of the Municipality of Beirut.
Creating a Festival is one thing, but sustaining it is another!

I will now speak in the name of this army of young people who have been working with me devotedly for months.
In their name I thank Mrs. Nidal Al Achkar, Founder & Executive Director of Al Madina Theatre,
who trusted them and who made Al Madina Theatre their second home.
In their name I thank Dr. Bilal Hammad and the Municipality of Beirut who believed in the youth like us,
and who made MISHKAL their own festival too.

In their name I thank Michel Eléfteriadès for accepting to be in charge of our Grand Opening tonight.
I would like to thank Mr. Nassir Kaloush, Governor of the Municipality of Beirut.

I thank Mrs. Alma Salem and Mr. Elie Gemayel and the British Council
who also believed in our project and decided to join us on board. We will be organizing a series of workshops in collaboration with the British Council who acknowledged the importance of our Festival
I thank the Ministry of culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Education for their support.
I also thank the team of Al Madina Theatre: Mohammad, Salah, Ali and Louay, as well as the Board of the theatre.
I would like to thank the administrations and the deans of all the universities who encouraged their students to participate massively in our festival.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the participants who are the heart of the festival.
And in the name of Al Madina Theatre I would like thank the youth,
the committee of the festival, the squad of the festival and the team of the festival.. A hell of an army.
If the participants are the heart of the festival I will say without hesitation: you are the soul of the festival,
and do I need to specify that souls are eternal.. 


أيها الحفل الكريم كم هو هام، وكم هو مشجع هذا اللقاء مع الشباب الواعد، إن هذا المنتدى لمحبي الفن، من موسيقيين ومصورين ومسرحيين وسينمائيين، هو بمثابة أمل كبير بالمستقبل وعطاء يبعث في النفس اطمئنان ًا وفرح ًا بمستقبل وطن كان مركزاً للإشعاع الثقافي في العالمين العربي والدولي ونأمل ونسعى بكل جهد لكي يحافظ على هذا الدور الخلاق في عالم الإبداع والفن. لقاء اليوم في ملتقى الشباب في مسرح المدينة، في مهرجان مختلف الفنون وخصوص ًا في مهرجان ِمشكال بنسخته الثانية يدفعني إلى القول أن المظهر الأول لصراع الحضارات يتجلى من خلال الصراع الثقافي وبالتالي فإن الثقافة المتجذرة والحاضنة لعناصر التطور هي الفائزة في نهاية المطاف، وإن مظاهرها المتجلية في مختلف أنواع الفنون هي الباقية وهي القادرة على المنافسة في معركة الوجود الإنساني. إن الشباب المنخرطين في منتدى ِمشكال اليوم سواء كانوا طلاب ًا جدداً أو خريجين جدداً فإنهم ولا شك يسعون إلى تطوير خبراتهم وتوسيع شبكات العطاء نظراً لما يحملون من طاقات وقدرات وطموحات ترقى إلى إبراز الصورة الثقافية العالية لأنفسهم وللوطن، خصوص ًا وأن هذا المنتدى لن يقتصر فقط على العروض الفنية وإنما على إقامة ورش عمل وطاولات مستديرة تتيح
التعلم وتبادل الخبرات بين مختلف الفنانين وتحديداً الفنانين الصاعدين

أيها الحفل الكريم كانت بيروت وما زالت موئ ًلا للفنانين ونقطة إنطلاق نحو العالمية بكل أشكالها الفنية، كان المسرح في بيروت والشعراء والأدباء والفنانون في بيروت، لكن الحرب بما حملت من ويلات وخراب أصابت هذا التوهج الثقافي الذي كنا نفخر به. معكم ومع تطلعاتكم ومواهبكم ورؤى كل المخلصين سوف تعود بيروت درة الشرق ومركز إنطلاق الشرارة الثقافية. يهمني في هذا السياق أن أؤكد على ان بلدية بيروت سوف لن تألو جهداً في سبيل تحقيق هذه الإنطلاقة وأنها في هذا الإطار تبذل كل الجهد المطلوب، ومشروع «بيت بيروت» هذا المعلم الثقافي الفني بما يحوي من مسرح وصالات عرض للفنون ومكتبة ومركزاً للندوات الفكرية سوف يرى النور في أسرع وقت بعون الله. في النهاية، وإذ أؤكد وقوف بلدية بيروت إلى جانب كل هذه النشاطات الثقافية - الفنية فإنني بإسمي الشخصي وبإسم المجلس البلدي لمدينة بيروت أتمنى لأعمال هذا المنتدى وللشباب الفني الصاعد كل نجاح.


«من ربح معركة الشباب ربح معركة الحياة» لا كلام بعد اليوم. فللكلام حدود، الا كلمة الشعر. ولا مجال للتطويل، فلا جدوى منه، الذي يحدث لنا وحولنا، ليس بحاجة الى شرح. فلندخل اذن لغة الفن والتعبير والابداع! لندخل «مشكال», مشكال الموسيقى والمسرح والرسم والنحت والشباب المبدع. غير جبالنا وسهولنا وبحرنا وطبيعة بلادنا الرائعة، فليس لنا الا ملح الأرض. الفنانون.. والليلة نبدأ احتفالنا مع الشباب وفنانيهم ونكرم الرواد المستنيرين بشعلة الايمان الذي يربطهم ببعضهم مع موهبتهم واستمراريتهم ورغم كل شيء. نكرمهم ونحن نكرم الأفضل في مجتمعنا، نكرم الفنانين الأوائل والفنانين الجدد.. نكرم بذلك نبض الحياة في المجتمع، فمن دون الفن يصبح المجتمع صحراء قاحلة ويتخ ّشب ويذهب الى الزوال كمجتمع حضاري، لان الابداع الفني هو الذي يحدد هوية الوطن ومدى قدرته على الحياة. فاستمرارية الابداع هي استمرارية الحياة فينا


The Arab Theater Training Center - (
The ATTC aims at creating a training and learning environment to develop the technical, artistic, and managerial capacities of young people active in the field of performing arts in the Arab world.

The ATTC as a project evolved out of the Arab Arts Project. It was officially founded during the VIth Amman International Theatre Festival in 1999 where several training workshops were organized at the hands of expert professionals. 
The idea of the center quickly developed to become a specialized center in the field of research and training in the performing arts.
Its objectives also grew through the needs assessment using various measurement tools. Several workshops in the performing arts were organized in different Arab countries in cooperation with a variety of artistic organizations and groups.
The center organized more than 50 workshops in addition to several joint projects with partner organizations in six Arab countries, namely: Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Morocco. 
Trainers came from different parts of the world: the USA, Sweden, The UK, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt, and France.
Young artists coming from different Arab countries including: Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and Tunisia, benefited from these workshops.
The ATTC established links with organizations who have contributed to the achievement of the center's objectives. Some of them are: SIDA, ALISSAR, AAFA, Jesuit cultural center, the Lebanese American University, Al Madina Theatre, Darat al Funoun, The Swiss development agency, the Japan Foundation, amongst others.

Friday, October 11, 2013

AUB Faculty Letter in Support of LAU's Campaign - Stop Tuition Fee Increase

15 faculty members from the American University in Beirut (AUB) signed the letter below and sent it to the Lebanese American University (LAU) Administration in support of the nonviolent student struggle against tuition increase:

To the administration at LAU,

We are writing as faculty members at AUB in response to the events of Monday 7th October, in which four students were suspended following their involvement in peaceful strike action to oppose the hefty climb in tuition fees. Your decision to suspend these students was extremely disappointing to us as teachers, and in this letter we ask that in future you consider more carefully the impact of taking these measures.

It appears that the students' strike was a direct response to your failure to engage with them and acknowledge their (very worthy) cause. It was conducted peacefully, in an organised fashion, and you were notified ahead of time. You justified this draconian punishment by citing the fact that they were “psychologically pressuring” professors to end classes and join their protest. We were not present and cannot comment on the truth of this, but will point out that this is a standard, and necessary, feature of strike action, which is designed to disrupt daily activity and accrue support. They disrupted classes in the name of education; they missed their own classes with the purpose of defending education more generally.

It has also been brought to our attention that an email was circulated by the LAU management informing students that they would not be permitted to enter the campus (between October 8th and 21st) without a receipt for their tuition fees. It occurs to me that the students are not the only ones disrupting education, nor is their rationale the least honorable. We are appalled that a prestigious university would resort to such a divisive and alienating measure, which shamelessly flaunts the ugly reality of the marketisation of education.

We often bemoan the apathy of youth, but these students are taking action to fight the commodification of education, the lack of transparency in large institutions, and the increasing elitism of LAU. They should be applauded for their bravery: that they would jeopardize their own educations in order to secure a fairer future for their peers is an act of considerable foresight and generosity of spirit.

Though now rightly revoked, the action you took was both disproportionate and extremely concerning. It sets a dangerous precedent for student protest actions more generally when the administration uses its power to crush, with impunity, an intelligent, and sensitively coordinated, act of resistance. These are our students, and they are the future of Lebanon. It is our duty to nurture and educate them, and to commend their independence and innovation, that they may better serve their communities. In this case, they have crossed sectarian boundaries to join forces in this movement, and they deserve better than to be punished for it. For what it is worth, we admire their courage, are heartened by their empowerment, and offer them luck and solidarity with the struggle ahead. We assure you our position would be the same if such events were to take place at AUB.

We urge that you pledge not to take punitive action against these students, or any others participating in peaceful acts of resistance, and that you begin to take seriously their demands.


Saif Al-Qaisi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Engineering;
Elizabeth Armstrong, Visiting Associate Professor of American Studies;
Raymond Brassier, Associate Professor of Philosophy;
Jad Chaaban, Associate Professor of Economics;
Maha Damaj, Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice;
Hounaida El Jurdi, Assistant Professor of Marketing;
Alaa Hijazi, Assistant Professor of Psychology;
Priyan Khakhar, Assistant Professor of International Business;
Tarif Khalidi, Sheikh Zayed Chair of Islamic and Arabic Studies;
Ramzi Mabsout, Assistant Professor of Economics;
Vijay Prashad, Edward Said Chair of American Studies;
Reem Saab, Assistant Professor of Psychology;
Imad Patrick Saoud, Associate Professor of Biology;
Arianne Shahvisi, Assistant Professor of Philosophy;
Karam Wahab, Instructor in Philosophy.

Find the below links for more information: