Panel Discussion: Heavens

Monday, June 1, 2020

Panel discussion about Zoukak’s performance: “Heavens”
Moderated by Hanane Hajj Ali, with Nizar Saghieh and Wadad Halwani, joined by Zoukak members Lamia Abi Azar and Junaid Sarieddeen

Thursday June 11th at 9pm through Zoom

This discussion comes after a tour of “Heavens” on 10 different radio stations and online platforms in the region, reaching more than 3000 listeners. Experts in the fields of law, civil activism and theatre, will discuss the play and the various topics dealt with in it, including the general amnesty law of 1991 and the new amnesty law currently up for legislation.

We are happy to be hosting on the panel, Nizar Saghieh, leading lawyer, legal researcher and co-founder of the Legal Agenda, and Wadad Halawani, civil activist and head of the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and the Disappeared in Lebanon. They will be conversing with Zoukak members, Lamia Abi Azar, performer and drama-therapist and Junaid Sarieddeen, performer, director and dramaturge. The panel will be moderated by writer, actor and activist Hanane Hajj Ali.

The panelists will discuss the problematics raised within the play, addressing the individual’s relationship and responsibility towards major events in history, covering questions about the relation between theatre, history and collective memory, the unwritten history of Lebanon, the case of the kidnapped and the forcibly disappeared in addition to the general amnesty law of 1991, touching on the new controversial amnesty law that is currently up for legislation in the parliament. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, open to the public.

‘’Heavens’’ was created by Zoukak Theatre Company in 2014, as a result of a two-year cycle of research around Lebanon’s history. The play is performed by a chorus of women and addresses the subject of loss, the absence and presence of individuals in relation to historical events, and what remains in the personal and collective memory/ies of citizens. The radio tour of “Heavens” was launched with a broadcast on “Sawt el Chaab” on the 13th of April 2020, marking 45 years since the start of the Lebanese civil war. The play toured throughout the months of April and May, and was broadcasted on 10 different FM and online radio stations and platforms from Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, Turkey and Berlin, reaching more than 3000 listeners.

This panel discussion is open to the public, to attend, please register by sending us an email to coordination@zoukak.org, and we will send you the Zoom Link.

If you have not yet listened to the play and would like to participate in the discussion, the audio version will be available on Zoukak’s Soundcloud on the 9th and 10th and 11th of June.

 

Background

On March 12th 2020, similarly to all other cultural structures in Lebanon, Zoukak suspended its activities until further notice, closing the doors of its Studio in Karantina, with no insight into when collective cultural activities would be able to resume in their usual manner. As the extent of this pandemic’s effect on the cultural field and all aspects of life became clearer, the company resumed several of its activities online (trainings, workshops, regular meetings…). Given the uncertainty the world is experiencing at the moment, and more precisely the theatre world, Zoukak believes in resilience and in defending the exitence and dissemination of art and culture despite the current and future challenges at hand. Therefore, and being conscious of the ultimate importance of actual presence in the “here and now” of theatre, and aware that it cannot simply be adapted audio-visually into the virtual realm, the company is looking into ways to continue its creation, while keeping the quality and integrity of artistic production intact.

The virtual audio tour of “Heavens” came as a continuation of the company’s usual touring across villages, cities and refugee camps in Lebanon, a yearly activity stemming from the Zoukak’s strong belief in the necessity of decentralizing theatre and culture, and as an outreach to communities living outside of Beirut. The virtual audio tour has allowed Zoukak to reach a wide range of audiences in Lebanon and the MENA region; contributing to the purpose of decentralization and reaching audiences that have limited access to theatre. While the online panel discussion that will take place next week, aims to generate a dialogue between experts and people across the country, around issues relevant to today’s political and social situation.

Zoukak Studio remains closed to the public until further notice, while the association’s team’s work carries on; planning the reopening of the Studio when the situation allows it, with various forms of performances, events, programs, including Zoukak Sidewalks: The Festival, that is still scheduled to take place in November 2020 in a variety of forms possible.

For more info: communication@zoukak.org

Website: www.zoukak.org facebook: Zoukak theatre company

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