The fifth edition of Spring Festival is organised by Al Mawred Al Thakafy (Culture Resource) in collaboration with The Cultural Cooperative Association for Youth in Theatre, Cinema SHAMS, and with the support of the Delegation of the European Union in Egypt, Doen Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Aga Khan Music Initiative, the Netherlands Embassy, Goethe Institute, and the British Council.
The spring festival, which is organised every second year, started eight years ago as a dynamic initiative limited to Egyptian stages, preliminarily in Cairo and Alexandria, and slowly reached out to new governorates.
Both the first Spring Festival, held in 2004, titled "Sounds, colors, ideas and images from the Mashreq, the Maghreb and the South," and the 2006 Spring Festival, which concentrated on Music and Poetry, took place in Cairo and Alexandria.
Soon afterward, the Festival ventured beyond Egypt into other Arab countries.
Spring Festivals held in 2008 and 2010, incorporated musicians, dancers and writers from eight countries meeting audiences in Cairo and Beirut, Lebanon.
In the upcoming edition of the festival, the fifth one, the event expands beyond Egypt and Lebanon, bringing Tripoli, Libya into its activities.
Moreover, inside Egypt, the festival reaches out to a number of cities beyond Cairo and Alexandria such as Menya and Assiut – with an extremely dynamic and versatile programme incorporating dance performances, music concerts, puppet theatre as well as a number of workshops and discussions aiming to involve a wide audience into the festival and cultural scene.
In Egypt, the festival that will take place from 19 April until 16 May and will include a wide range of the most prominent contemporary artists from Europe, Central Asia, the Arab Region and the US.
It will open on Friday 20 April with a celebration of Turkish music at the Prince Taz Palace, featuring violinist Nedim Nalbantoglu, oud player Nuri Karadermilli, and clarinetist Babaros Erkose, among others who will perform a mixed programme, solo and in duets, improvisations and compositions, under the title of a Turkish Coffee.
Exploring the relationship between anonymity and isolation, along with concepts of the individual and urban life, the public and the private, German/Argentinian choreographer Constanza Macras and her Dorky Park ensemble will present their latest dance theater piece Here/After at El Falaki Theater.
In Menya,Turkish master of shadow puppetry Cengiz Ozek will present the comedic Garbage Monster at Jesuits Cultural Center. This show be also presented at Beit El Seheimyin Cairo.
Checkpoint 303, a Palestine/Tunisia band, will present their avant-garde activist sound art project combining electronic music and political commentary; musicians from Uzbekistan will perform "The Invisible Face of the Beloved", that reaches out to diverse expressions of a shared musical heritage in contemporary forms.
Audiences will have the opportunity for the first time to see Tausi Taarab of Zanzibar, all female orchestra performing Taarab and traditional Zanzibari music and featuring Bi Kidude, the undisputed queen of Taarab and Unyago music.
Tunisian ensemble Dima Dima will perform their eclectic mix of western and eastern genres and traditional sounds while virtuoso string quartet Zapp 4 will invite us to their fusion of experimentation, improvisation and musical fantasy. Dima Dima will perform their eclectic mix of western and eastern genres and traditional sounds.
From the US, San Francisco’s Dance Brigade, under the artistic direction of Krissy Keefer, will bring their unique blend of political dance theater, martial arts, and taiko drumming with a feminist perspective in their acclaimed show Cavewomen: The Next Incarnation.
The festival concludes with a series concerts for the Iranian band AJAM in Alexandria, Cairo and Assiut. Based in the UK, Ajam will bring their fusion of Iranian regional and tribal music with a contemporary urban edge to Egyptian audiences, with the support of the British Council.
The festival will also include two special programs that address the current political climate in Egypt and the region: Future Manifesto, a round-table panel discussion featuring the political activists Alaa Abdel-Fattah (Egypt), Fathi Terbil (Libya), Azyz Amamy (Tunisia), Nabila AlMufti (Yemen), and moderated by the remarkable TV presenter Dina Abd El-Rahman at AUC’s Ewart Hall.
Last, but not least, Samar with the Revolution are three consecutive nights of storytelling, from 8 to 10 May, bringing nine individuals together from Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen to tell their own stories of the revolutions at Makan - Egyptian Centre for Culture.