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From the 3rd to the 9th July 2023, the UK’s premier festival of contemporary Arab cultures, Shubbak Festival, will present three new plays at Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale in partnership with MENA Arts UK.

Shubbak will permeate hallways, galleries, concert halls, public squares, gardens across London for two weeks. The festival lands in Camden in their second week to present pieces from some of the most exciting artists from across the world, each questioning the role of the arts in an unjust society.

Opening on the 3rd July, From The Daughter of a Dictator is an new piece of work by Yasmeen Audisho Ghrawi which takes audiences through a series of images and anecdotes about displacement, hope, sorrow, joy, and resistance. Ghrawi is a queer Iraqi-Syrian-Assyrian performer and story-maker who works across theatre, film, and audio exploring themes of migration, displacement, and social justice, using the body as the birthplace of stories. Read more and book now

Opening on the 6th July, Trouf: Scenes from 75* Years by previous writer-in-residence at Shakespeare’s Globe, Hannah Khalil, is a living, growing record of life in Palestine, life beyond the headlines, life under occupation. The play began life as Scenes from 68* Years at the Arcola Theatre in 2016, to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences. Khalil’s play has since evolved through a series of collaborations with Tunisian artists to create a fresh text for UK premiere at Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale. It will be co-directed by Chris White and Ghazi Zaghhani. Read more and book now

Finally, Hassan Abdulrazzak presents a staged reading of his play Chambers of the Heart on the 9th July. Abdulrazzak’s play explores love, desire and memory in four stories spanning East and West. Newly divorced 30-something Yasmine turns to online dating, but there is something oddly familiar about who she meets. Reem is a Syrian refugee in her early 40s fleeing her country but unable to let go of the memory of an unrequited love. Warda, recently widowed in her 50s, is hosting a university friend who ignites suppressed emotions. Mother is in her early 70s and reluctant to be on stage as she is interrogated by her son. Chambers of the Heart is directed by Sepy Baghaei and performed by MENA Arts UK member Laila Alj. Read more and book now

Shubbak Festival features cutting-edge artists alongside distinguished names in ambitious programmes of premieres and new commissions. With a vibrant mix of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debates, Shubbak showcases the diversity and innovation of contemporary Arab arts and cultures, and celebrates what makes it distinctive to itself.

MENA Arts UK is an arts organisation for professionals who work in Live and Recorded Arts and are connected to the Middle East, North Africa or the surrounding area. The organisation 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.

Alia Alzougbi and Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso, joint chief executive officers of Shubbak, say:

“We're thrilled to be partnering with Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale and MENA Arts to present these exciting voices over the second week of the festival. 26 Crowndale is such an exciting venue, and it's our pleasure to be bringing an Arab breath to it.”

Laïla Alj, Chamber of our Hearts performer and MENA Arts UK member, says:

"I’m so proud to be involved with two organisations that bring MENA+ artists to the forefront. They have both fostered a sense of community and support that I am thrilled to be celebrating with Shubbak Festival. Theatro Technis has become an important creative home through my work with MENA Arts UK and I’m delighted to be performing there next with Shubbak."

Three new plays presented with Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Cultures.

23rd June - 9th July 2023

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