The inaugural edition of the Eazees International Women’s Theatre Festival (EIWTF) will take place between 15 and 21 September, honouring the name of late Egyptian playwright and activist, Fathia El-Assal (1933-2014).
The festival was originally planned to take place between 23 and 29 March 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed.
The festival is presided over by actress Abeer Lotfy, and director Abeer Aly and theatre critic Rasha Abdel-Moneim are the festival’s directors. The festival is supported by Egypt’s Ministry of Culture.
In its inaugural edition, the festival’s honorary president is Egypt’s renowned actress Sawsan Badr.
The festival, to be held annually, is focused on stage plays with a key interest in women’s issues.
The opening and closing ceremonies of the festival will take place at the open-air theatre at the Opera House.
The opening will feature a caricature exhibition titled ‘Women of Theatre’ and a concert by the group Tablet El-Sitt. The evening will also include opening statements by the Festival’s President Abeer Lotfi and artistic director Abeer Ali, as well as a word from Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem.
The EIWTF will present Egyptian and international stage plays, such as ’Another Sky’ (Morocco), ‘Lady M’ (The Netherlands), ‘Passage’ (Germany and Brazil), ‘Kandata’ (Japan), ‘Road’ (Russia), ‘Bird Cage’ (Jordan), ‘The Last Time’ (Tunisia), ‘Frida’s Wings to Fly’ (Romania - online performance), among numerous other international and Egyptian plays. The organisers are yet to reveal the detailed schedule.
The plays will be staged at numerous venues in Cairo, including the Hanager Centre for Arts, the Artistic Creativity Centre, the Ministry Of Youth Theatre, the Cairo Library, the Supreme Council Of Culture, the Tahrir Cultural Centre, Ewart Hall, Studio Emad Al-Din, and the Cairo Opera’s Small Hall.
The festival will also hold several workshops and symposiums led by Egyptian and international theatre makers such as Moataz Abdel-Sabour, Ana Al-Hekaya Group, Nora Amin, Anne Marie, and Barbara Santos.
The main symposium will focus on a discussion around the image of women in contemporary theatre.
The awards will be given to the best stage play, best director, best actor, best actress, best scenography, in addition to the Jury award, and appreciation and special mention certificates.
The festival’s award is a statue of the ancient Egyptian goddess Eazees (also known as Isis).
Two plays will be staged outside the competitive segment, one during the opening, and another during the closing ceremony.
Additionally, the event will hold several workshops and seminars led by renowned female theatre-makers.
Following the belief that women have a unique creative sensitivity, the festival’s organisers aim to encourage women to express themselves in an artistic, intellectual, and esthetic framework; create a platform of creative networking; while raising social awareness of women’s issues and concerns.
Among the objectives enumerated on the EIWTF’s website is the festival’s aim to establish a fully feminist event, where no issues other than women’s are discussed, a matter that gives the festival an opportunity to go beyond the superficial matters, traditional stereotypes, and to highlight the “depths of feminist crises at both the psychological and wider social levels. It is a theatre festival with an interest in highlighting women’s relationship with the world, which is its main concern.”
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