By Suzana Rabello de Souza
Last year saw the first edition of the Sharm El Sheikh International Theater Festival For Youth, in Sinai, Egypt. Idealized by director Mazen El Gharabawy, the festival that started on January 07, 2016, gives young people passionate by theater an opportunity to showcase their talents and get recognition for it.
The idea came in 2013, when El Gharabawy decided to do something about the lack of such events for young people. And what makes this Festival even more special is that it is not simply an event made by adults for young people: youngsters take full responsibility on all the details involving the festival. Taking help and support from artists and professors well known in the theater universe, these young artists can get firsthand knowledge in the industry they are planning to be a part.
Love for Theater Brings Together Youth from All Over the World
The official opening ceremony for the Festival’s first edition took place in the Broadway Theater, in Genina City. The troupes of the General Authority of the Cultural Palaces paraded the streets from the Cultural Palaces in Khaleeg Neama to the foyer in Genina City – bringing to the public folkloric performances representing the rich Egyptian heritage.
Thanks to the efforts of a passionate young generation, along with the Festival’s honorary president, veteran theater actress Samiha Ayoub and manager, actress Wafaa El-Hakinhe, the first edition of the event was a huge success.
It received participants from different parts of the world, including 6 European countries (Russia, France, England, Italy, Germany and Serbia) and 15 Arabian countries (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Marocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Emirates, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Palestine), presenting a total of 20 plays.
Moreover, the festival also offers a variety of different workshops. Announced by the official media and advertisements and chosen by international artists, the workshops are open for the people from the participant delegations as well as Egyptian youth. A fee is charged for the participation, which is transferred to the Festival’s funds to keep improving the event.
El Sheikh to Become an International Cultural Capital
This mix of countries and cultures creates a competitive atmosphere that brings together youth from different backgrounds and institutions, reinforcing the Festival’s main goal to be a highly international event.
The Sharm El Sheikh International Theater Festival For Youth also aims to encourage the tourism in the area. By targeting young people, the organizers hope to attract more university students to Sharm El Sheikh, making the place a cultural hub for young people. Never before a youth event was part of the Egypt Ministry of Tourism agenda, proving the power and dedication of the Festival for Youth to reach artists from all around the globe.
Important Egyptian government names were present for the event opening, such as Minister of Culture, Helmy El-Namnam, South Sinai Governor, Khaled Fouda, the Head of Tourism Board, Samy Mahmoud and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Amal Gamal El-Din.
Several Egyptian stars also showed up, including Samiha Ayoub, Ashraf Abdel Baqy, Ahmed Maher, Sohier El-Morshedy, Ahmed Abdel Aziz, Fatouh Ahmed and Khaled Galal.
And last but not least, the Lebanese star Nada Abou Farahat, and the stars Ali Elian and Abeer Eisa from Jordon and Abraham Fabio from Britain.
The Second Edition
In 2017 the El Sheikh International Theater Festival For Youth will take place from April 01st to 09th. If you are interested in knowing more about the event or even taking part in it, you can get in contact directly with the organizers through the email [email protected]. Also, make sure to keep an eye here, as FabUK magazine will keep you informed of all updates prior to this year’s edition. Stay Tuned!