When: 7th – 15th June 2014
£: Ticket prices vary depending on the event. Some events are free
What is it?
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival was founded by Liverpool Arabic Centre and the Bluecoat to provide Arabic arts and culture in Liverpool. The first festival took place in 2002 and it has run annually since then. The festival is a celebratory event raising awareness and promoting an understanding and appreciation of Arabic culture for both Arab and non-Arab audiences. The festival has grown rapidly over the years and remains the only annual festival of its kind in the UK.
Boasting a huge range of events, the nine day festival will take place at various high profile venues across the city including the Bluecoat, FACT, Unity Theatre, St George’s Hall and Sefton Park Palm House. This eclectic festival will cover a plethora of cultural mediums and genres, with family activities, visual arts, film, performance, music, dance, food, book launches and interactive workshops.
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival highlights include:
The BIG Saturday
Saturday 7th June, 12pm – 5pm at the Bluecoat
This free family event promises an exciting day of music, food and more. Featuring Amira Kheir with an enchanting blend of jazz and soul, and fresh from the Royal Albert Hall, Maya Yousseff.
El Gusto (15), director Safinez Bousbia
Saturday 7th June, 6pm at the Bluecoat
Free film screening. A feel good documentary about a group of older musicians coming together. This simple story transcends cultural boundaries and cultivates a strong sense of hope and happiness.
Hassan Abdulrazzak: A Fire Blazing Brightly
Sunday 8th June, 5pm at the Bluecoat
Award winning playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak presents an exclusive reading of scenes from his new play. Rana is missing in Baghdad. She returned to Iraq to investigate her father’s past. Will she succeed in creating the positive change that eluded her father? And what revelations will she uncover about him in Baghdad? Tickets cost £5/£3.
Sunday 8th June, 7.30pm at St Georges Hall
Farah Siraj’s music is a fusion of Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, bossa, pop and features original compositions and traditional Middle Eastern tunes. She has shared the stage with A.R. Rahman, performing Zariya live on MTV. This is her first UK concert. Tickets cost £15/£10.
9th – 12th June, 5pm at the Bluecoat
Free talk. Festival-long thought provoking debates on current affairs, culture, freedom and change in the Arab world. Hear from people who are directly involved and have your say too.
Funoon Wa Alwane
Tuesday 10th June, 8pm at the Unity Theatre
Funoon Al Arabiya come together to present the joyful and colourful dances of the rarely-seen regional folkloric music and dance of Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq and beyond. Tickets cost £10/£8.
Book of Gaza
Wednesday 11th June, 6pm at the Bluecoat
The Book of Gaza brings together ten fiction writers in a unique anthology presented in English translation for the first time. Edited by Atef Abuseif. The book launch is free to attend.
Choose Your Own Adventure
6th – 29th June, 10am – 6pm at the Bluecoat
A major commission curated by Danah Abdullah that plays with the format found in old board games and children’s books. Devised especially for the bluecoat’s public spaces. The exhibition is free to attend.
Al Noor – Fragile Vision
7th -17th June, 10am – 6pm, at the Bluecoat
In collaboration with DaDaFest, British Council and Arts Council England. Rachel Gadsden’s work explores themes of fragility and resilience, and the universal and deeply positive desire to survive. Countries involved in this exhibition are Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The exhibition is free to attend.
Waiting for Summer Director Diyan Zora
11th & 12th June, 8pm at Unity Theatre
Swivel Theatre Company present an all-female cast in a series of gripping new plays. Tickets cost £10/£8.
Drumming Workshop with Simona Abdallah
Saturday 14th June, 1.30pm at the Bluecoat
Simona Abdallah is one of few professional female darbuka players. She works as a soloist and has performed with Natasha Atlas. Recently returned from tours of Singapore and Kenya, join her in this fantastic workshop for all abilities. The workshop is free to attend.
Wadjda (PG), director Haifaa Al-Mansour
Saturday 14th June, 3pm at the Bluecoat
Free film screening. An Oscar nominated film set in Saudi Arabia. A young girl wants to buy a bike, in a society where bicycles are deemed dangerous to a girl’s virtue. Set against a background where women are not even allowed to drive, follow Wadjda in her boundary breaking journey.
Saturday 14th June, 5pm at the Bluecoat
Free talk. This lively event marks the publication of Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, a unique anthology of literature, art and culture.
Saturday 14th June, 7.30pm at the Bluecoat
After their sell-out show last year, Diwan are back in a new show based on Fadi Azzam’s novel Sarmada, long-listed for the Arabic Booker Prize in 2011. This is a remarkable contemporary of the Arabian Nights. Sarmada is a word created by the author, a derivative female form of the noun-verb ‘to perpetuate’ or ‘perpetual’. The title places women at the heart of this story that spans several generations, from Syria to Paris and back again. Tickets cost £7/£5.
Sunday 15th June, 12 noon at Sefton Park Palm House
This free family event will have stalls, food, music and performance. Featuring fantastic Oud player Attab Haddad. Simona Abdallah brings us her fusion of ancestral Arabic rhythms, House, Electronica and World Music. London based band Karama will charm audiences with their inspired African and Arabic classical sound and more beats from the Al Awadhel Band.
More info: www.arabartsfestival.com