Live seminars

Follow WPIC on your computer!

We know that not all of WPI’s members will be able to come to the conference in Stockholm. For you, and other interested, there’s an unique opportunity. Three key notes and one stage presentation will be streamed.

NEWS – We will also be streaming the stage presentation Afghan Voices, Saturday 20-22 pm.

You don’t need any special computer demands but good Internet speed is recommended. If you don’t want to look live, you can watch the seminars afterwords – the videos will be on the web site for at least two months. To look at these speeches and presentations, go to


Thursday 16th August

10.15-12.00 The Arab World (Key note speeches in three parts + Award)

10.15 – 10.45 Years of Ember and Ashes

The sixties and seventies, before the civil war broke out, were the years of hope. They were the years when we believed in change and a better future. We worked towards that future, towards a civil society that we envisaged for ourselves and for our children, a society that was built on the hope of a better tomorrow.

Then the embers of our hope, already faint, were smothered by the civil war, which cast a pall over our country for seventeen years. When the dust settled, after the militias stopped fighting, after they destroyed the country’s infrastructure and terrorized its citizens, when the dust settled, there was nothing but ashes, ashes that we were left to sift through for any remnants of our faith, of our culture, of any recognizable future.

And those children, born and raised in the war, what culture could they cling to, what branch could we offer them to keep their heads above water? Our work in the theatre was irregular, we did what we could when we could. The war made it impossible to keep an underground theatre movement alive. In 1992, we began again, fanning the ashes, looking for our audience, for some flame, however dim, of the civil society we buried, of a lost generation, of a sense of belonging to a country. Theatre, theatre that can change the world, the theatre of free expression, is the branch I have extended to this lost generation. That they reach for it, so repeatedly, is one of the few reasons I have left to hope again, for change and for a better future. Then came the black horses of the Arab Spring …

With Nidal Al Achkar
founder & director of Al Madina Theatre, Beirut

10.50-11.20 Young Arab Theatre Makers: Challengesand Opportunities and

Presumably, a region with no solid theatre tradition is not expected to recognize and support its young people’s journey in the world of theatre making. Given that the region has been experiencing turmoil for long decades, art making is not a priority.

Young Arab theatre makers have been experiencing new prospects of funding theatre work in the past 20 years. The culture of fundraising and giving to the arts in general and theatre in particular is exceptional. Art communities have been familiar with the individual initiative paradigm as reference. Governmental support is scarce and conditional just as foreign institutional support is relatively productive and to a certain extent contractual.

Theatre makers need an environment full of freedom in order to function and develop. Democracy in the Middle East is farfetched likewise censorship is a serious concern. Yet young Arab theatre makers are determined to challenge the odds that could hinder their quest for free self-expression including cultural and economic aspects.

With Mona Knio
Department of Communication Arts, The Lebanese American University

11.25 – 12.00 Storytelling to resist and remember

During the 18 days of Egypt’s revolution and onwards storytelling was taking place between people in casual gatherings and random encounters. The stories kept reminding us of what we were part of, of what were finally able to do and it gave us hope … the stories were like opium during hard times!

The stories of the people were personal testimonies, what they’ve been through and how they’ve felt. Stories that won’t be out in any newspaper or on the TV news or down in the history books. Stories that we felt should be our generation’s own alternative history away from the hands of state people and politicians. And gradually was not only used in artisitc forms of expression but has turned into a tool for self empowerment and resistance. Resistance not only towards oppression and injustice of the ruling power, but also resistance against those who try to write their very own twisted version of history. Resistance towards any attempt to distract the people, to make them forget the crimes committed and martyrs who died.

With Sondos Shabayek
Egyptian journalist, dramatist, director & activist, part of the protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo. Now working with the Tahrir Monologues, stories from the revolution.

12.20-13.00 Etel Adnan Award

The Etel Ednan Award, founded by Al Madina Theatre and Riksteatern, aspires to increase the number of plays penned by women playwrights residing in Arabic-speaking countries, and making them acknowledge by the rest of the world. The 2012 Award winner will be presented, as well as the winner of 2011, Lana Nasser from Jordan who is attending the conference with her winning play In the Lost and Found: Red Suitcase.

Friday 7th August

20.00-22.00 Do you feel understood? Young women playwrights around the Baltic Sea (seminar)

Six languages. Six voices. Six attempts to verbalize one´s personal statement. This is a collaboration between playwrights from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. This performance/staged reading is the result of a workshop with the playwrights, directors, actors and a musician held in Finland in June 2012.

Playwrights: Emilia Pöyhönen, Finland, Sofia Aminoff, Finland, Lyubov Mulmenko, Russia, Maria Lee Liivak, Estonia, Madara Rutkēviča, Latvia, & Gabriele Labanauskaite, Lithuania.  Actors: Jermo Grönlund, Helena Maria Laxén, Mia Renwall, Finland, & Ann-Charlotte Franzén, Sweden. Directors: Mikaela Hasán, Finland & AnnaLina Hertzberg, Sweden. Composer: Pernille Sejlund, Denmark. Producer: Adelfa Agency/ Helena Autio-Meloni, initiator and leader of the project, Finland.

The project is supported by the Kone Foundation, The Nordic Culture Point and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.


Saturday 18th August

10.00-12.00 Theatre impact on children and young people (key note speech)

Why is theatre important for children and young people? Sweden has a good reputation concerning children’s theatre, but what about the impact in Palestine and the MENA region? Suzanne Osten, founder and leader of the well known Swedish theatre Unga Klara, talks with Marina Barham, head of Al Harah Theatre in Palestine.



Monday 20th August

10.00-11.30 Women Writing Africa (key note speech)

A discussion between playwrights on the ways in which gender and identity may – or may not – affect their work. Is there such a thing as ”an African woman playwright”? Do women have a different story to tell? Why is it important, particularly in Africa, to hear the voices of women? With Fatima Dike & Amy Jephta, South Africa, Patricia Olwoch, Uganda. Moderator: Karen Jeynes, playwright from South Africa, member of WPI management committee and Board member for ICWP.