The Minister of Culture Inaugurates the Twenty-ninth Edition of CIFET

Honoring (5) Theatrical Figures from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Canada

Dr. Nevine Al-Kilani: We sought to invite the most prominent theatrical shows which keep up with the most recent streams of theatrical experimentation worldwide.

The Egyptian Minister of Culture, Dr. Nevine Al-Kilani and the President of Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater (CIFET), Dr. Gamal Yakout inaugurate the twenty-ninth edition at the Main Hall, Cairo Opera House, in the presence of the participating delegations from 46 countries and states from all over the world.

The opening ceremony was presented by actor Ahmed Wafik and announcer Jasmine Taha Zaki and directed by filmmaker Shadi Srour, who created an artistic performance entitled “Civilization and Technology” for 3 minutes, highlighting the main theme of the 29th edition (theatrical experimentation and technological development).

At the onset of the ceremony, actor Ahmed Wafik states: “we are gladly meeting again at the opening ceremony of CIFET in its twenty-ninth edition. Today, we are celebrating the inauguration of the festival’s new edition on time after two years of challenges. Today, playwrights from multiple states are gathering to enjoy diversified theatrical experiences. Additionally, playwrights are getting ready to take part in workshops, symposiums, and other events. Besides, announcer Jasmine Taha Zaki translated the introduction in English for CIFET’s guests from non-Arab countries”.

Furthermore, a short film on the festival’s events was presented, followed by a speech by CIFET’s president, Dr. Gamal Yakout, in which he welcomed and thanked the Minister of Culture, Dr. Nevine Al-Kilani for supporting the completion of the festival’s projects. Dr. Yakout also welcomed the festival’s guests from Egypt and other countries: In this edition, we are completing what we have started in the past one.

Regarding the details of this edition, he declared: We have 44 theatrical performances and the competitions include:

14 theatrical shows in the major competition,
16 shows in the short performances’ competition,
13 shows in the experimental theater club competition,
And 10 training workshops by instructors from Egypt and other countries. Additionally, there are also touring shows and training workshops in different governorates. We also have 4 symposiums on theatrical experimentation and technological development, along with a presentation of (7) scientific theses on the publishing theses project, discussions for authors and translators, and the Arab festivals’ project.

The Minister of Culture, Dr. Nevine Al-Kilani -in her first official appearance- states: Good evening, guests of CIFET… We are pleased with your attendance… Hello and welcome to all theatrical groups taking part in the festival… We are looking forward to watching and enjoying their creativity over the days of the festival. Welcome, on a day when the experimenters meet to present creative works, apart from the usual and ordinary ones, engaging with far-reaching fantasies for achieving amazement and minds’ captivation. In order to accomplish those goals, we sought to invite the most prominent theatrical shows which keep up with the most recent streams of theatrical experimentation. We were also keen on having trainers and instructors from diversified countries and theatrical schools to cover the majority of theater components.

Dr. Nevine adds: CIFET has presented significant events seeking to influence the path of theater, not only in Egypt and its multiple governorates, but also across the Arab world. There has been a great boom in writing and translation projects, closely related to the axis of the current edition “theatrical experimentation and technological development”. Moreover, CIFET launches a project for publishing theses that tackle the main theme of the 29th edition. Eventually, CIFET has been keen on coordination between Arab festivals; thus, it launched the Arab festivals’ project, in order to be a starting point for combining efforts to have a theatrical status that keeps pace with all contemporary variants. Last but not least, we announce the inauguration of the twenty-ninth edition of CIFET.

The 29th edition bears the name of an international theater artist, well-known for his directing experiences and books which are considered significant references in directing. CIFET presented a film on theater legend, Peter Brook. Later on, the honoring section started. This year, CIFET honors multiple theatrical figures who presented inspiring and iconic theatrical works on the international level: artist Anwar Al-Shaafi, a filmmaker, scenographer, founder of the National Festival of Experimental Theater in Medinine, Tunisia, and founding director of the dramatic arts department. Besides, Al-Shaafi directed several experimental theatrical works, including: “Tara Ma Ra’ayt” and his latest work “Kabus Einstein/ Einstein’s Nightmare”. CIFET honors the Saudi theater director, Fahd Rada Al-Harithi from Taif city. Al-Harithi is one of the pioneers of the renewal movement in the Saudi theater and a founding member of the Taif Theater website; the first Saudi theatrical website. Additionally, Al-Harithi has presented (50) theatrical works until now, including seven works for children. The works of Al-Harithi participated in 122 local and Arab festivals. He was appointed as a jury member in several local and Arab theatrical festivals.

As for Egypt, CIFET honored the name of the late Dr. Kamal Eid, professor of acting and directing at the Academy of Arts and founder of the Dramatic Arts Department, University of Babylon. Furthermore, Dr. Eid directed multiple plays, including: “Shafiqa Wa Metwally” and “Al-Dafade”. He was also the author of several researches, books, and translations: “societal theater”, “philosophy of literature and art”, “aesthetics of arts”, “issues of societal drama”, and “theater science”. Moreover, Eid translated “Alnaawus” play and experimental scripts from the Hungarian theater as well. Eid received numerous awards, the most recent of which was the State Appreciation Award for 2018. He was also honored by the Arab Theater Authority.

Furthermore, CIFET honors Egyptian director Intisar Abdel-Fattah, the winner of multiple local and international awards and participant in many performances at CIFET, including “Darbaka” which was selected to be presented in the first edition, “Tarinimah 1” presented in the third edition, “Kunshurtu” presented in the sixth edition, “Sunata” which represented Egypt in 1995, and “Makhadat Al-Kuhl” which won the best show award in 1998 and the best theatrical performance award at Carthage International Theater Festival in 2000.

CIFET honors the iconic Canadian artist, director, and producer Dominic Champagne who directed multiple theatrical performances in English and French, several shows of the Circus of the Sun in Canada, and other works in Las Vegas theaters. Champagne worked as a professor at the Drama Institute and the Conservatoire in Canada. Besides, he won multiple international awards in writing and directing.

CIFET honors the watching and selection committees of multiple competitions: (as for the Egyptian performances: professor of drama and criticism Dr. Hatem Hafez, director and choreographer Munadil Antar, and director Hani Afiffi were honored). Critic Mohamed Mosaad apologized for not being able to attend because he is not currently in Egypt.

The members of the Arab watching and selection committee were honored: director Nasser Abdel-Moniem, director Hani Al-Metnawi, critic and writer Rasha Abdel-Moniem, and Dr. Mahmoud Sabry. Furthermore, CIFET honors the watching and selection committee of the foreign shows: director Essam El-Sayed and director and scenographer Omar Al-Moataz Billah. Critics Khaled Raslan and Bassem Adel apologized for not being able to attend because they are not currently in Egypt.

After the opening ceremony sections, the first Italian show of the official competition -entitled “Wahm”- was presented.