Lamia Abi Azar
Lamia Abi Azar is a theatre maker, performer and drama therapist, co-founder and co-artistic director of the Zoukak Theatre Company (2006) and Zoukak Studio (2008), Beirut. She obtained her Bachelor degree in Clinical Psychology from St. Joseph University in Beirut (USJ) in 1999 while studying theater at the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University (1997-1999). She then moved to Italy in 1999, where she co-founded La Casa del Teatro, a hosting space for theatrical encounters and production at L’Aquila where she acquired her degree in History & Practice of Arts, Music and Performance, with an emphasis on theater from the Università degli Studi dell’Aquila in 2004.
Merging the various tools she acquired during her studies, she developed a psychosocial methodology in response to the needs of the communities she worked with; increasing the wellbeing and self-esteem of participants, providing a free space of reflection and dialogue that allows the development of their personal and collective resources in an atmosphere of enjoyment through theater.
As a strong believer in the power of imagination as an agent for change, she led a wide number of psychosocial interventions since 2000 in collaboration with local and international organizations, providing workshops and training programs to diverse groups such as women, young people, and children who have been subjected to domestic violence, incarcerated minors and the residents of shelters, children and young people suffering from multiple disabilities, foreign domestic workers, migrants and refugees, and populations affected by wars and conflicts. She devised performances with these groups in various contexts in Lebanon and abroad, connecting socially engaged work with artistic research and practice.
Over the past 15 years, Lamia has created over 20 performances with Zoukak Theatre Company – co-devising, co-writing and performing. She has presented performances at international festivals and venues around the world such as the MuCEM, ITFOK Festival, Southbank Center, Ibsen theater, Théâtre des 13 Vents and more.
Based on her will to share her knowledge and expertise and her belief that political change is first and foremost a collective change of ecosystems, she developed a training of theater practitioners in psychosocial interventions and produced publications on that topic and on theater for development. Since the launching of Zoukak’s Mentorship Program and Production Support Grant in 2016, Lamia also actively contributes to the development of the program and has mentored young artists by supporting them in their projects’ development.