Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival Starts Sunday

arabicartslogo-150.jpgLIVERPOOL ARABIC ARTS FESTIVAL 2006

Five years of celebration and learning in the cultural capital
2 – 16 July 2006

Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival celebrates its fifth birthday with an innovative programme of performances, exhibitions and events which will appeal to young and old alike. This showcase of Arabic culture will run throughout the first two weeks of July and is expected to attract audiences, not just from Merseyside, but from all over the UK.

Celebrating many aspects of Arabic arts and culture, this year’s festival offers a taster of music, dance, theatre, film, architecture, visual arts, dress, literature, craft and food, drawn from Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya, Oman, Syria, Sudan, Egypt and Britain.

The festival begins with the hugely popular Family Day, (2 July, 12 noon – 4.00 pm), when the Sefton Park Palm House will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Arab world. Visitors can spend the day enjoying a wide range of activities and entertainment including music, dance, workshops, stalls, an array of culinary delights and the festival’s own Mini Arabic Football World Cup.

Festival highlights include London-based Algerian expats Fantazia, with a unique mix of sufi grooves, James Brown brass and whirling ouds, and Cheb Nacim, one of the world’s most prolific Rai singers. Palestinian Hip Hop dancers join us from the streets of Gaza and there will be a screening of the first Yemeni feature film A New Day in Old Sana’a.

Dance has always played a major part in the festival and once again there’s a range of events to choose from, including a women-only dance event providing the perfect excuse to escape the World Cup fever. The Unity Theatre will host the world premiere of Sabrine, devised by Middle Eastern dance expert Caroline Afifi – the tale of a girl’s introduction to the world of belly dancing past and present and the politics which surround it. To complement this performance, and also at the Unity Theatre, is Texterminators by Mai Ghoussoub – a thought provoking play concerned with male violence, wars, book burning and censorship that arrives in Liverpool after showcasing in Beirut.

New for 2006 is Alf Lela Wi Lela: 1001 Nights, a dinner dance extravaganza for all the senses at Heswall Hall in Wirral with a mezze meal and Arabic music and dance. Once again the Shisha Café will be the festival’s hub, providing a meeting place and serving delicious Arabic food.