Liverpool Arab Arts Festival Announces More Events

Queens of Syria
LIVERPOOL Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) has announced the second wave of events joining this summer’s 10-day programme of music, dance, visual art, literature, talks and family friendly events. The festival will launch with a two-night run of Queens of Syria, a groundbreaking theatre piece created and performed by female Syrian refugees. The new announcements also include a comic one-man performance bravely tackling global social issues, and storytelling and film events exploring real-life stories from Liverpool’s own Arab community. Organisers have even added an extra day to the programme, extending the festival to run from 15-24 July 2016. This year LAAF explores the theme Undocumented, and the newly announced events highlight the festival’s continued dedication to programming work that tells stories or showcases artists that may otherwise not be fully represented in western mainstream society. The festival will launch with a two-night run of Queens of Syria at Everyman in partnership with Developing Artists. A group of 60 Syrian women, now refugees exiled in Jordan, worked on an adaptation of Euripides’ great anti-war tragedy The Trojan Women. A small group of these women will tour and perform in the UK for the first time. Trailer for Queens of Syria here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KOknXejRPo Over at Bluecoat, comic and poignant play Love, Bombs & Apples is the latest work from award winning playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak (Baghdad Wedding, The Prophet). This one-man stand up show (performed by Asif Khan) features four vignettes told from the perspective of unrelated characters; a man facing life under occupation in Palestinian, a British Muslim jailed under suspicion of terrorism, a disenfranchised Bradford youth tempted by IS; and a young Jewish man torn between his pro-Palestinian activist girlfriend and his father. At FACT, A day in the life of war features the screening of a documentary produced by a group of young people from Liverpool Arabic Centre, capturing how the under-reported conflict in Yemen, which since March 2015 has destroyed the country’s infrastructure and led to a humanitarian disaster, is affecting the lives of people in Liverpool’s Yemeni community. The documentary has been commissioned by Saferworld and produced with Optical Jukebox in response to a British Council commissioned project that enabled young people
in Yemen to create their own short films revealing their experience of living in a conflict zone. For Migrant Stories, a free event at Bluecoat, LAAF will team up with Liverpool Welcomes to give audiences the opportunity to hear people who have travelled from the Arab World, now living in Liverpool, share personal stories in their own words and recounting their own geographical, cultural and emotional journeys. Taher Qassim, Chair of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival said “We are delighted to announce these additions to the already fantastic LAAF 2016 programme. While the themes and content of the work in this year’s festival are diverse – from heart-wrenching personal stories, to humourous approaches to contentious issues, they are all unified by the fact that art in all its forms can help to promote an understanding and appreciation of different cultures – and that is what LAAF is all about.” Everyman & Playhouse Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz said of Queens of Syria: “It’s a privilege to be working with Liverpool Arab Arts Festival to help bring this important project to the city. We believe it is vital that we put the lives and experiences of people on stage and tell their stories, whether that story is local or international. The Queens of Syria is an extraordinary story told by extraordinary women that has something urgent to say about the world and the refugee crisis.” For more information on the full Liverpool Arab Arts Festival programme and to book tickets visit www.arabartsfestival.com