29th Cairo Int’l Festival for Experimental Theatre accepting submissions to Theatre Club competition

Ati Metwaly , Wednesday 2 Mar 2022

In preparation for the 29th edition of the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre (CIFET), the festival’s management opened the doors for entries to the Experimental Theatre Club competition.

Experimental Theatre Club

The Experimental Theatre Club competition was launched during the 28th edition of the festival by its president, Gamal Yakout. Its second round will take place during the upcoming edition of the festival that is scheduled to take place between 1 and 10 September 2022.

The competition aims to shed light on experimental theatre practices outside Cairo, inviting professional and amateur troupes to submit their work.

Last year, nine troupes from a variety of governorates — Beni Suef, Damietta, Minya, Port Said, Wadi El-Natroun, among others — participated with their performances.

The award worth EGP 30,000 was distributed to two winners — ‘The Mask’, a play from Port Said; and ‘Still Here’, by the actors from the Beni Suef Cultural Palace.

Yakout revealed that in the upcoming edition, the prize will be doubled to EGP 60,000.

Interested troupes should review the participation requirements by visiting the festival’s website or through the festival’s app that is available on the Google Store and App Store

Among the requirements is that the performance carries clear experimental components. It should be one of the troupes’ bigger new projects, preferably staged within its community, and without being limited to the festival’s days only.

The evaluation committee will review the submitted projects and present the works that comply with all the regulations to the viewing committee. The latter body will choose the plays to participate in the competition.

The chosen plays will be staged during the 29th CIFET.

The awards amounting to EGP 60,000 will be distributed as follows: EGP 20,000 for the winner, EGP 15,000 for the first runner up, and EGP 10,000 for the second runner up. This is in addition to three other awards worth EGP 5,000 each that will be given to remarkable elements of the plays as specified by the jury.

Scheduled to take place between 1 and 10 September 2022, the 29th CIFET is presided over by Gamal Yakout, who was also in charge of the festival in its 28th edition. 

Yakout introduced a number of changes to the festival and its awards system. Last year the festival allocated a total of EGP one million to awards spanning between the Best Performance (EGP 500,000) and chosen elements of plays (EGP 100,000 each).

Launched in 1988 by former minister of culture Farouk Hosny with the aim of placing Egypt on the international theatrical map, since its second edition, the CIFET was presided over by the late scholar-writer Fawzy Fahmy, the former president of the Academy of Arts, who retained this post until 2010.

The festival was then interrupted for five years after the January 2011 Revolution and then came back in 2016 with Sameh Mahran as its president. In that edition, it was renamed the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre (CIFCET) and, limiting its programme, dropped its competitive character.

The name was changed back to the CIFET in its 27th edition (2020), when Alaa Abdel-Aziz took over and the competition was reinstated, however, due to COVID-19, the international shows took place online, while Egyptian plays were staged across Cairo’s theatres.

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