Count down to sixth edition of Cairo's Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Mar 2017

The festival will take place between 17 March and 8 April and feature a wide range of music, dance, and theatre performances, as well as films and visual arts

Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival
Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (photo: fragment from the event promotional material)

The sixth edition of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) will take place between 17 March and 8 April, at multiple sites and venues in Downtown Cairo.

The D-CAF festival is the first international multidisciplinary contemporary arts festival in Egypt. This year’s line-up includes a wide range of music, dance, and theatre performances, as well as films and visual arts from Egypt, the Middle East and internationally.

The festival venues include, but are not limited to, traditional cultural spaces-- performances, events and arts installations are also held and showcased in historical buildings, rooftop storefronts and alleyways.

According to the festival's Facebook page, the aim is to bring “audiences and performers to engage with the city in a new way.”

It is in this spirit that the urban visions programme, D-CAF’s contemporary dance programme, continues to offer performances in public spaces, such as Cairo cemeteries in the area surrounding the Qaytbay mosque.

The festival will also focus on disability in the arts, and introduce three newly commissioned performances by Irish, English and Swiss companies.

Among them is a performance by the Theatre Hora Company, the oldest theatre company in Switzerland to have engaged in helping people with disabilities to perform.

The show is directed by prominent French dancer and choreographer Jérôme Bel. Other notable performances include French director Pascal Rambert’s two-act drama “Cloture de l’amour” which will be played in Arabic by Egyptian actors Mohamed Hatem and Hadeel Adel; and a musical theatre collaboration between French director Henri Jules Julien and Syrian actress Nanda Mohamed.

The music programme will be curated by Egyptian sound artist, electronic musician and producer Mahmoud Refat. It will feature several rising Egyptian musicians, as well as a concert by renowned Sufi chanter, Sheikh Yassin El Tohamy.

This year’s film and literature programme is curated by Isabelle Fauvel, the founder of Initiative Film Development Company and will focus on adaptation and the relationship between genres.

Two film adaptations of original texts will be featured as part of the festival, namely Denis Villeneuve’s 2010 film “Incendies,” and Philippe Falardeau’s 2011 film “Monsieur Lazhar.”

Lastly, this year’s visual art programmes will create the imaginary “Cairo Museum of Contemporary Art” (CAMOCA). A performative act by Romanian choreographer Manuel Pelmus, as well as artworks and installations by New York based artist Adelita Husni-Bey and British artists Noor Afshan Mizra and Brad Butler, will be shown at the Kodak Gallery and passageway, and in an apartment space on Hoda Shaarawi Street.

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