Hakawy festival stimulates young Egyptians' imagination

Ati Metwaly , Tuesday 10 Mar 2015

Launching the Hakawy festival's 5th edition with two plays -- from the Netherlands and the UK -- the young audience was lured by the performers into the world of imagery and interactive games

Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children
Opening of the 5th Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children at the Hanager Arts Centre, Cairo. 9 March 2015 (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

The 5th edition of the Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children opened with two plays: Tetris from the Netherlands and the Tiger Tale from the UK.

The opening also included the launch of the exhibition that presents the artwork commenting on each of the charter of Children's Rights to Art and Culture's 18 principles.

Similarly to its previous editions, the festival drew large crowds to the Hanager Arts Centre, and its surroundings in the open air ground. The performing artists as well as AFCA Arts, the body organising Hakawy festival decided to use the whole area to their creative disposition.

"Clap your hands, stamp your feet..." before the plays began, children were offered earphones through which they listened to Zahra Ramy from the Radio Hits 88.2 radio programme, introducing them into the festival's mood. In no time, the young audience climbed over the pile of large blocks erected by Hakawy at Hanager's entry hall.

However, the children's attention was soon redirected to the open air space where dancers from Arch 8 troupe (Netherlands) mingled with the audience and walked on the theatre's walls. The contagious imagination of the troupe pulled the young crowd back to the Hanager where the Tetris play began.

Tetris by Arch 8 troupe, the Netherlands (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

Tetris is the game of imagery where human bodies form 3D puzzles. As they tangle their bodies and wrap themselves between each other, the performers' reveal impressive acrobatic skills. However the play is not about showcasing stunts and remarkable gymnastics, it is an invitation to let the imagination loose.

The young viewers are invited to enjoy what has no concrete recognisable shape and yet encapsulates many forms. From passing through the warming of their minds to the ultimate participation in the show, Tetris allows the children to discover the many – mental and physical – layers of interaction with the performers.

In the following play, the Barrowland Ballet from the UK gave their interpretation of the famous story The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Comic and daunting, surprising and consoling, chaotic and uniform, bright orange and dull grey, the Tiger Tale relies on the emotional engagement of the viewers and becomes a deep metaphor of life, routine, change and belonging.

Surrounded by the captivating scenography -- inside what resembles a metal cage and with buckets suspended from the ceiling -- the three dancers operate within the intimate space, occasionally breaking the walls and rules, continuously juxtaposing the contrasting emotions.

They are accompanied by live music coming from Kim Moore, a composer and multi-instrumentalist seated in the far corner of the hall.

Creatively playing with minds and inciting the imagination, is one of the core values that arts and culture offers to the young viewers. 

Set in the experimental form and challenging the classical boundaries, the opening night of Hakawy came as a fresh air to the Egyptian theatre scene, a territory that has a lot of catching up to do in the field of addressing the youngest audiences.

Tiger Tale
The Tiger Tale by the Barrowland Ballet, UK (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

Children will be able to explore riches provided by this year's festival until 17 March in Cairo and then on 18 and 19 March in Alexandria.

Check the Cairo program here and read more about this year's Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children here.

Ahram Online is the official media sponsor for the fifth edition of Hakawy International Festival for Children and AFCA's Campaign of Children's Rights to Art and Culture. 


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