'Young theatre-makers are thirsty for knowledge': Tunisian director Hammadi Ouhaibi

Ahram Online , Thursday 5 Dec 2019

Ouhaibi organises theatre directing workshops during the ongoing Alexandria Theatre Festival for Specialised Institutes

Alexandria theatre festival
Photo: Fragment from the Alexandria Theatre Festival for Specialised Institutes's promotional material

During his workshops held during the ongoing Alexandria Theatre Festival for Specialised Institutes (3-8 December), Tunisian director Hamadi Ouhaibi said he is thrilled by the interest of young people in theatrical arts and directing.

"I met over 30 young people who are thirsty for knowledge," Ouhaibi said about his workshop, adding that "the participants come from many art institutes, and their passion lies in directing."

Ouhaibi is one of the well known Tunisian theatre directors and academics. His plays are performed in the country and participate in international theatre festivals. 

The workshop, which kicked off with the beginning of the festival, continues until 7 December, presenting to the young students many aspects of theatrical art and revealing the many facets of mise-en-scene.

According to Ouhaibi, in his lectures he focuses on the function of the director in the performance's creation process; he walks the participants through the whole journey, starting with the birth of an idea all the way to the actual realisation of a project on stage. He also provides tips and directions in specific directing techniques, putting the knowledge into action through exercises in small groups.

"Though it is impossible to transfer all the knowledge during the workshop's five days, hopefully the students will have a sample of the many pathways they can continue to explore on their own or within the theatre arts institutes they hail from."

The first of its kind in the Arab world, the Alexandria Theatre Festival for Specialised Institutes kicked off on 3 December and continues until 8 December in the Mediterranean city, with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina its main host.

The festival participants include 10 troupes representing a variety of theatrical institutes from Egypt and Arab countries, such as Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Oman, in addition to students from other colleges and/or specialised institutes who have theatrical practice within their curriculum.

Egypt is represented by students from institutions such as the High Institute of Theatrical Arts in Cairo, the American University in Cairo, the Applied Arts Institute (Cairo), and Ain Shams University.

The festival offers a series of specialised workshops and performances held in the afternoon and evening hours. The remaining two days (Friday 6 and Saturday 7 December) will feature three performances from Egypt, a theatre play from Saudi Arabia's students of the King Faisal University and a performance by the students of Oman's Applied Sciences College.

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