By Falah Gulzar
American University of Sharjah (AUS) will hold its first ever theater festival from Tuesday, January 31 to Saturday, February 4, 2017, featuring works of and sessions by local and international professionals and participants in the field. The initiative is part of the university’s ongoing efforts to promote art and culture in the region.
The First AUS International Theatre Festival aims to cater to anyone interested in production and performance, according to event director Anthony Tassa.
Professor Tassa, who is also the Head of the Performing Arts Program at AUS, said the five-day event will focus more on student participants. It will showcase and enhance their theater talent, skills and abilities.
“Activities at the festival will focus on acting, production, stage design as well as playwriting,” said Tassa.
The festival will host 35 foreign participants and an equal number of local participants.
Institutions from outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE) such as Michigan State University and Palm Beach Atlantic University, along with several theater companies, will be featuring their work at the festival.
“I am most excited about the international guests we have called in,” Tassa said. “They are invited to share their theatrical experience and expertise. Our students will benefit immensely from the workshops that they will be conducting during the festival,” he added.
The festival will comprise both “open” and “closed” activities, including seminars, lectures and plays that will require attendees to either walk-in, sign-up or buy tickets.
A number of shows will be featured at the festival including Be. Longing presented by Michigan State University on Thursday, February 2, followed by Hiraeth: Theatrical Journeys, produced by the AUS Performing Arts Program on Friday, February 3; and Virtue Reality, aimed at a younger audience, created by the Story-Makers Theatre Company, on Saturday, February 4.
Tickets are priced at AED 25 and can be purchased between 2:00 –5:00 p.m. from Room 101, at the university’s Performing Arts Building. All shows will be held in the Rotunda of the Performing Arts Building.
A professional critique session, open to the public will follow Be. Longing. and Hiraeth: Theatrical Journeys.
There will be several prominent lectures held during the festival. These include the Film Audition Seminar hosted by Bashar Atiyat, a Jordanian-American film actor and producer, as well as one entitled Theatre as Cultural Identity, presented by Assistant Professor Daniel Keegan from American University of Sharjah. These will be held on Tuesday, January 31. Two more, Rise of Women Dramatists in America offered by Sherri Engle from Borough of Manhattan Community College and Cultural Identity and the Theatrical Impulse presented by Don Butler from Palm Beach Atlantic University, will be held on Wednesday, February 1.
Admission to these lectures is free and they will all be held at the Performing Arts Building Rotunda.
Open Acting Workshops
In addition to the shows and lectures, the festival will also hold open acting workshops. These include: Inner Monologue in Acting, presented by Theatre Director Rob Roznowski from Michigan State University on Tuesday, January 31; Don't think, Improvise! hosted by Mina Liccione from Dubomedy on Wednesday, February 1; Open Acting Workshop 3 by Carlos Uriona from Double-Edge Theatre Company on Thursday, February 2; Developing Character Through Movement by Story-Makers Theatre Company and Script to Scene to Character to Line Step Down Analysis presented by Atiyat on Saturday, February 4.
Admissions to all workshops is free but an advance sign-up is required for each workshop.
Playwriting and Design Events
Last but definitely not least, the festival will also feature playwriting and design events. According to Tassa, in these events, students will get a chance to showcase their work which they were given a specific time frame to complete in.
Design Storm Presentations and Design Storm Responses will both be held on Wednesday, February 2. The former will feature student-created pieces in the costume and scenic design category for which they had 90-minute sessions over three to four days to create. The latter will have feedback from professionals on the work presented.
10-Minute Play Readings and 10-Minute Play Responses will be held on Saturday, February 4, in which student dramatists will present readings of pieces which they had 90-minute sessions over two days to create. This will be followed by critique of their work by experts.
Admission to these presentations is free. They will all be held at the Performing Arts Building Rotunda. You can check timings for all lectures, workshops and other events here.
For all inquiries, ticketing and sign-up procedures, please contact: [email protected].
Join us and become a part of this exciting festival!
Falah Gulzar is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah