Zoukak Theatre Company
We created Zoukak in 2006 as a non-hierarchical structure, dedicated to theatre practice as a social and political involvement, with a belief in theatre as a space for common reflection and in collectivity as a position against marginalizing systems. We position ourselves outside the dominating discourses in our context through direct action within communities. 2006 also witnessed the Israeli war on Lebanon and the displacement of two million Lebanese from the South, and in 2007 all of the population of Naher el Bared Palestinian refugees camp moved to Beddawi Camp, and in both cases we found ourselves in these locations making psycho-social theatre interventions through a special approach to drama therapy. Since then we tested and developed theatrical interventions in emergency situations and beyond, working with incarcerated youths, children with multiple disabilities, women subjected to domestic violence, migrant domestic workers and other marginalized fractions of our society, while continuing to work with people affected directly and indirectly by war.
Since Zoukak's inception and with each new project we strive to find new ways of collective creation, springing from our understanding of theatre as collective work done by diverse individuals. Our methodology of work emphasizes processes rather than outcomes. For us collaboration lifts the creative operation to a higher level, allowing for unexpected approaches to theater making and a multiplicity of expression.
Through our artistic creations, we tackle topics that question the ambient status-quos in our context and beyond. We structure our research and creation processes around cycles of work, producing an array of projects around specific themes; such as gender and sexuality, history, power and religion, death and immortality, childhood and violence, re-enactment, among others.
Moreover, we are committed to applying theatre in various fields: through social engagement, therapy, and education. We developed a specific approach to psychosocial interventions of drama therapy and socially engaged theatre, providing workshops and training programs to diverse groups, and devising performances in different Lebanese regions and in various contexts, finding ways to connect social interventions with artistic investigations.
Zoukak endeavours to develop an environment of dialogue and reflection around the performing arts in Lebanon and to provide artistic development and international touring opportunities for local artists,curating since 2013 “Zoukak Sidewalks”, an international festival and “Focus Liban” a platform for the support and diffusion of work by local emerging artists.
In 2008, we opened Zoukak Studio, a space for practical exchange and critical thinking, serving in part as a free access rehearsal and creation space for local practitioners and remaining "the kitchen" of our entire project.
Zoukak received the Ibsen Scholarship award (2012), the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Euromed Dialogue Award for social resilience and creativity (2014), the Honorary Citizenship of the City of Palermo (2017), the preamium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists from the Japan Arts Association (2017) and the Chirac Foundation Award of Culture for Peace (2017) and the Ellen Stewart International Award (2018).