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Egypt's biggest state-run international theatre festival returns, calls for participation

After four-year of hiatus, the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre returns to Cairo with a modified name and format, opening the door for local, regional and international applicants

Ahram Online , Tuesday 5 May 2015
Theatre festival
In this archive photo, actors present take on 'King Lear,' directed by Tarek Ragheb. The play was the Creativity Centre's entry to the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre that took place in 2004. (Photo: Al Ahram)

The Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre (CIFCET) announced the opening for Egyptian and international participants.

The festival, which will be held in Cairo between 21 November and 2 December 2015, returns after a few years of hiatus, in a modified format.

Previously called the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre (CIFET), the event was launched in 1988, and is one of the largest state-run cultural initiatives in Egypt, second to only the Cairo International Film Festival. After over two decades of activities, the festival was stopped in 2011, with many people quoting financial reasons.

While CIFET had a competitive character in terms of the prizes it distributed to best actors, directors and scenographers, the new, revised festival returns in a non-competitive format, and carries a modified name that welcomes "contemporary" theatre as well as "experimental".

According to the festival's organisers "CIFCET exists to broaden the space for mutual understanding among diverse populations and communities via the exemplary means of theatre and performance. It aims to introduce the latest developments in the international theatre scene to Egyptian and Arab audiences, while also serving as a showcase for local and regional theatre output for the benefit of specialists and interested festivals from all over the world."

In addition to its select local and international performances, CIFCET will feature an ambitious programme of book and panel discussions, post-show talks, workshops, staged readings, and other related public events, typically accompanied by translation from and into English.

Opening the door to Egyptian and international applicants, the organisers underline that performances of all types are welcome "on condition that they demonstrate their relevance to the contemporary theatre scene."

Opening the applications, the organisers announced that "all selection decisions will be made by an independent screening committee composed of internationally-active specialists."

"In addition to video recordings, the suitability of performances will be determined by a number of interrelated factors, including, among others, local and/or international recognition and the provision of a carefully thought-out production concept or other accompanying dramaturgical statements.

The statement continued to say that successful applicants must "explain in as clear a language as possible the artistic ambitions of the work within its context of origin (particularly as pertaining to the more 'experimental' performances). CIFCET also welcomes applications from works emanating from practice-based research projects, a form of crossover that the festival seeks to promote across the Arab region."

The state-run theatre festival is headed by the president of the Academy of Arts. For many years, CIFET was part of Fawzi Fahmy's responsibilities. The new version, CIFCET, will be presided over by Sameh Mahran, current president of the Academy of Arts.

Completed forms should be submitted no later than 30 June 2015. However, the organisers advised to apply as early as possible to ensure full attention.

Please visit the festival's website for more information and how to apply. Further inquiries can be emailed to: [email protected] 


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