After receiving more than 300 applications from talented youth all across 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, 72 applicants were shortlisted and invited to audition in Sharjah for the inaugural ‘Home Grown’ philanthropic theatre program, a joint venture between the Middle East Theatre Academy and the Kevin Spacey Foundation. After live auditions where participants performed various artistic pieces from musicals, television shows, and plays, 35 young men and women were selected to attend the academy that will be taking place in January.
The ‘Home Grown’ academy will take place between the 10th and 26th of January at the Sharjah Institute for Theatrical Arts under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.
Candidates were asked to submit a YouTube video of their performance as part of the application process and were selected based on their performances. They were given the opportunity to meet with like-minded men and women in a practical group workshop audition; which included training in teamwork movement and physicality. Finalists included young men and women from the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
“Some of the stories that emerged from these young men and women were very interesting and showed us just how vital this programme can be to them. Every single one of the participants had a unique and important reason for wanting to take part in this programme, like gaining validation and confidence in their skills, or even just to instil themselves with the determination to possibly pursue a career in the theatrical arts.” said The Kevin Spacey Foundation Team.
Participants were excited about being given this opportunity and were enthusiastic to work with youth from many other countries in the region and engage in a MENA cultural exchange. Some of the young men and women spoke about harbouring the skills they will learn and improving the theatre landscape in their respective countries.
Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey will be present at times throughout the project and will lead expert classes for participants in addition to observing rehearsals. The opening performance will take place in Sharjah in the UAE on the 25th of January 2015 at the Sharjah Institute for Theatrical Arts.