Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School to perform in Morocco, Tunisia

Ahram Online , Tuesday 12 Jul 2016

The school was founded in 2012 and aims at supplying children residing in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar with an array of artistic skills

Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School
From the performance of Lost and Found in April 2014. (Photo: Bassam Al Zoghby)

Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School (DAAS) is scheduled to perform their play Lost and Found on 15 July as part of the Bab El Bahr Festival in Sousse, Tunisia, and again as part of the International Children' Folklore Festival which will run between 23 and 30 July in Morocco.

Directed by Hanan Hajj Ali who also co-wrote the play along with cultural activist Basma El-Husseiny, Lost and Found proved highly successful when it premiered in February 2014 at the American University in Cairo's Falaki Theatre.

The performance takes elements from circus arts and theatre to present the stories of children’s relationships with their families, their neighbourhoods, and their country.

Since its onset in 2012, DAAS— located in the economically underprivileged district of the same name — has succeeded in supplying dozens of children with an array of artistic skills. 

The school, which aims to provide neighbourhood children with an arts education to help in securing future jobs, was founded by an NGO, the Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) in cooperation with Aga Khan Music Initiative - Aga Khan Development Network.

Currently the school operates under El-Genaina Company for Arts and Culture Services, and continues to be partnered by Aga Khan.

Targeting children aged eight to 18, DAAS opens its door for new students twice a year, after mid-term examinations in January, during which it accepts 100 or more students, and after final exams in May.  

Upon enrolment, each child chooses one of three specialisations offered at the school; circus arts, percussion or wind instruments.

Besides Lost and Found, DAAS’ other performances include Darbaka — the end product of a two-week workshop by STOMP trainers from the UK — and most recently Balalika, a performance comprising circus acts, musical performances and a clown show, all performed by second-year students as well as some graduates of the school which premiered in July 2015.

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