The seventh edition of Hakaya festival kicks off on the 7th of September
Under the patronage of the Greater Amman Municipality and incorporation with The King Abdullah II for Development, Hakaya Festival returns in its seventh edition organized by Al Balad Theatre and the Arab Education Forum. Inspired by the rich legacy of our region, the festival presents an exceptional array of stories, meetings, and performances over the span of 5 days from 7 – 11 September, 2014.
The festival is made possible thanks to the cooperation and support of a number of companies and organizations including: Tamasi collective, Swedish Institute, Fabula (Sweden), CHWB (Sweden), Umniah – Telecom Partner, Al Ittihad Bank, The British Council, Darat al Funoon, Gaza Camp, Talbiyyeh camp, Haya Cultural Center, Princess Bassma Center for youth, Zarqa Camp, Zikra initiative, Art Hotel, Roya TV, Radio Farah el Nass, Al Balad Radio.
The festival opens with a dance performance at the Cultural Palace – Al Hussein Youth city – by the renowned El Funoon Palestinian Dance Troupe entitled “Dancing for Freedom. Proceeds from the ticket sales of the opening performance will be dedicated to the Maghazi cultural center in Deir el Balah, Gaza – Palestine.
The festival this year features storytellers from Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, UK, Sweden, and Jordan, telling us stories from all over the world. On the 7th, British storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton will present a magical Scandinavian wonder-tale entitled “The White Bear King,” and on the 9th Helen East, also from the UK, will present from the Scottish travelers’ tradition the story of “Sandy” the ashes lad. The festival will also feature Palestinian storytellers Fidaa Ataya and Manal Ghanem, as well as Palestinian-Lebanese storyteller Khaled Jamal ElNaanaa, and Lebanese storyteller AbdelRaheem Al Ouji. Seasoned storytellers like the Moroccan Abdel Rahman Al Turki and the Syrian/Spanish Nemer Salamun will also tell stories ranging from the personal to the traditional. Young Jordanian storytellers Suhaib & Yazan Abu Salim and Faisal Al Azzeh whose debut was at the Hakaya festival will return to meet their audiences again in the 7th edition.
Theatre performances also have a place in this year’s festival with El Warsha theatre group from Egypt performing “The Birds of Fayyoum” featuring stories and songs that speak about times of confusion and uncertainty in Egypt before and after the revolution, Theatre Day Productions from Palestine will present the Hennah night telling stories about Gazan women.
From Tunisia Raeda Qurmazi joins us to tell “A thousand stories condensed in one”, and from Palestine Samia Qazmouz Bakri presents the monodrama entitled “Az Zaroub” which has been in the theatres since 1992. The festival closes with Palestinian director and actor Amer Hlehel in his latest production “Taha” about the life of the late Palestinian poet “Mohammad Ali Taha.”
Stories are not only told by people, but also by cities, and “My city and I” initiative in cooperation with Hakaya festival and the Jericho municipality will present a dialogue between two cities across the Jordan River: Madaba and Jericho. To add flavor to life stories, Munir Fasheh, renowned Palestinian educator, will tell his “story with math” that he taught for over 20 years yet views it from a completely different perspective nowadays.
The Hakawait project will also feature performances of Syrian folk tales that have been told by Syrian refugees in Lebanon and collected by Lebanese and Syrian researchers followed by a residency where 14 storytellers from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Sweden selected some of those stories to add them to their repertoire and keep the tradition alive.
The annual storytellers’ forum will focus its discussions on methods of transmission of the storytelling knowledge and expertise, in addition to three workshops facilitated by trainers from Syria and the UK; these workshops are incorporations with the British Council and The Arab Theatre Training Center – ATTC.
Hakaya is a program that connects organizations, individuals and different groups that believe in the centrality of stories in the healthy growth of individuals and societies. For several years, the program has been celebrating the art of storytelling in theatre, arts, promotion of literacy and writing, formation of identity and cross-cultural dialogue.