The British Arab Centre Friday Hangout talk series, this time in partnership with MENA Arts UK has returned. This “Hangout Takeover” will focus on platforming MENA+ (Middle East, North Africa and surrounding area) professionals working in the live and recorded arts, inviting guests to discuss their work and answer live questions from the public in an informal setting via Zoom. (main image: Khyam Allami © 2015 Johanne Issa_13)
Kicking off the Takeover was Sally El Hosaini, a Welsh-Egyptian film director and screenwriter, whose acclaimed debut feature, My Brother The Devil, picked up major prizes at Sundance, Berlin and London Film Festivals. She was selected for BAFTA’s 2017 Elevate programme and was subsequently invited to sit on BAFTA’s Film Committee. Currently, Sally is in pre-production on her second feature film, The Swimmers, based on the true life story of Syrian refugee and Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini.
Sally chatted with Arian Nik, a British-Iranian actor born & raised in Leeds. They discussed Sally’s career as a film director and screenwriter, and exploring the challenges MENA+ creatives face working in film.
MENA Arts UK was formed in 2020 to celebrate artists working in the UK live and recorded arts with a connection to the Middle East, North Africa and the surrounding area. Their objectives include lobbying for appropriate representation, advocating for change, and seeking to increase UK work opportunities. The organisation has launched the UK’s first ever online directory of all MENA+ professional artists, including creatives, technicians and academics.
The Takeover programme will welcome to the Hangouts :
5 February: Sally El Hosaini, a feature film writer / director whose acclaimed debut feature, My Brother The Devil, picked up major prizes at Sundance, Berlin and London Film Festivals.
19 February: Abi Zakarian, an award-winning British-Armenian writer whose plays include Perfect Myth Allegory, produced by Jermyn Street Theatre; I am Karyan Ophidian, produced by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; and Fabric, produced by Tremers for Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016, winning a Fringe First Award.
5 March: Amir El-Masry, an award winning British Egyptian actor who has most recently been named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and earned a Best Actor nomination for his lead performance in the critically acclaimed feature film, Limbo
19 March: Khyam Allami, an Iraqi-British multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, researcher and founder of Nawa Recordings.
Amani Hassan, Acting Executive Director of the Arab British Centre said: “We are delighted to be bringing back our Friday Hangout series with our friends at MENA Arts UK. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to severely impact life here in the UK, creating spaces where we can come together for a moment of community, culture, and creativity is as essential now as it was back in March last year. As a body of professionals working in the live and recorded arts – a sector which has been hugely affected by the pandemic – we couldn’t dream up a more timely or exciting partner than MENA Arts UK.”
Laura Hanna, a member of the MENA Arts UK steering group, is co-producer of the Takeover series. She is a British-Egyptian multidisciplinary performer and creative who recently performed in A History of Water in the Middle East at The Royal Court: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible response to our launch last year and are so excited to be partnering with The Arab British Centre – this Takeover means we can create and open up conversations around the work of MENA+ artists for a wider audience.”
Dates and Times
The Hangouts will run on 5 and 19 February, and 5 and 19 March. All Hangouts will run on Zoom from 1-2pm GMT. Registration is free but essential.