Livestreamed on this page on Tuesday 3 August at 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -5) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:00 UTC / 9 p.m. EEST (UTC +3).
I Want to Tell You About Beirut
A Reading of Testimonies and Roundtable Discussion Commemorating the One-Year Mark of the Beirut Port Explosion
Golden Thread Productions, Al Madina Theatre, and the Legal Agenda present I Want to Tell You About Beirut livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 3 August at 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -5) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:00 UTC / 9 p.m. EEST (UTC +3).
On August 4, 2020, at 6:07 p.m., one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in the history of mankind happened at the port of Beirut, Lebanon. This catastrophic event claimed the lives of more than two hundred victims, injured seven thousand and three hundred thousand homeless, and caused massive property damage across the city. Golden Thread Productions collaborates with Al Madina Theatre and the Legal Agenda in Lebanon to present I Want to Tell You About Beirut, which commemorates the one-year mark of the explosion that ruined the lives of thousands of innocent civilians. The event will commence with a recorded reading of testimonies presented in English and Arabic by actors based in San Francisco and actors based in Beirut, and the reading will be followed by a live roundtable discussion with Nidal Al Ashkar (artistic director of Al Madina Theatre), Zeina Daccache (dramatherapist), Ghida Frangieh (lawyer), Tania El Khoury (live artist), and Hamid Sinno (musician and writer). The event is accessible for English and Arabic speaking audiences and will last for approximately 90 minutes.
Sahar Assaf (director/facilitator) recently joined Golden Thread Productions as the executive artistic director. She moved to San Francisco from Lebanon where she lived and made theatre for the last 18 years. At the American University of Beirut, where she headed the minor program in Theater Arts and was an assistant professor, she co-founded with her long-term collaborator playwright Robert Myers, the Theater Initiative, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and artists working to facilitate theatre creation and research locally, regionally, and internationally. She is an alumna of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in NYC (2014) and of Directors Lab North in Toronto (2017), and she is the co-founder and artistic director of Directors Lab Mediterranean. She has published reflections on her work in Arab Stages, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, and authored chapters in Theatre in the Middle East Between Performance and Politics edited by Babak Rahimi, Anthem press, 2020 and The Theatre of Sa'dallah Wannous edited by Sonja Mejcher-Atassi and Robert Myers, Cambridge University Press 2021. I Want to Tell You About Beirut is Sahar’s first project at Golden Thread.
Nidal Al Ashkar (panelist) Lebanese artist, actress and director. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and trained with the legendary Joan Littlewood. In the mid-sixties, she founded the Beirut Theatre Workshop with a group of actors. In 1982, she established the Arab Actors theatre company in Amman, which toured the Arab world and crowned its tour in London’s Royal Albert Hall. She starred in a number of important Arab TV Productions, Arab films, and international films. She directed and produced many Arab and international plays and toured in the Arab world, Europe, and America. In 1994, she founded the Association of Al Madina theatre for Arts and Culture, a non-governmental, non-profit organization that focalized her lifelong determination to encourage participation in cultural activities. She has received numerous national and international honors, most notably,The Silver Lebanese order of Merit in 2019 and The National Order of the Cedar from the president of the Lebanese republic in 2016 and Officiers des Arts et des Lettres 2016 and Chevalière des Arts et des Lettres in 1997 from the French government. Nidal Al Achkar is married to Mr. Fouad Naïm and mother of Omar Naim and Khaled Naïm.
Hamed Sinno (panelist) writes musicals. Hamed is a writer, musician, and social justice advocate and has been a founding member, lyricist, and vocalist for Mashrou Leila since 2008. They have a BFA in Design from the American University of Beirut and are pursuing an MA in Digital Musics at Dartmouth College.
Zeina Daccache (panelist) is the founder and executive director of Catharsis - Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy and works as a drama therapist, professional trainer, play director, and documentary filmmaker in different settings. She has a BA in Theater Studies, a MA in Clinical Psychology, and is a Registered Drama Therapist/Board Certified Trainer with the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA). Zeina managed and directed pioneering projects such as 12 Angry Lebanese (2009) and Johar Up in the Air (2016) presented by the inmates of Roumieh prison, which give special populations a tool for self-advocacy, thereby communicating their message to the society and decision-makers, lobbying and putting in action policy change. Zeina is the recipient of many awards for her distinguished contributions to the field of social initiatives and services.
Tania El Khoury (panelist) is a live artist whose work focuses on audience interactivity and is concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. She creates installations and performances in which the audience is an active collaborator. Tania’s work has been translated to multiple languages and shown in thirty-two countries across six continents in spaces ranging from museums to cable cars. She is the recipient of a Soros Art Fellowship, the Bessies Outstanding Production Award, the International Live Art Prize, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award. Tania is distinguished artist in residence of Theater & Performance at Bard College in New York and the director of the OSUN Center for Human Rights & the Arts at Bard. She holds a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research and publications focus on the political potential of audience interactivity. She is associated with Forest Fringe collective of artists in the UK and is a co-founder of Dictaphone Group in Lebanon, a research and performance collective aiming at questioning our relationship to the city and redefining its public space.
Ghida Frangieh (Panelist) is a lawyer and researcher based in Beirut. She has been a member of the Legal Agenda since 2011 and is currently the head of its Strategic Litigation Unit. She recently worked on producing a legal guide for the Beirut blast victims to support their path to justice. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Human Rights from France and has various publications related to social justice and human rights issues. She is also a founding member of Ruwad Al-Houkouk Association and of the Lawyers Committee for the Defense of Protesters.
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