Abu Dhabi theatre collaboration: a weekend festival, not a merger

The two longstanding theatre companies in Abu Dhabi, Resuscitation Theatre and Beyond the Veil, have announced plans for their first collaborative project: a short festival of one-act plays, to be performed (probably) at the Emirates Writer’s Union in The National Theatre in April.

There will be four plays – two written by Resuscitation Theatre company members Faisal Al-Jadir and Al-Hurr Al-Dali, and two by Beyond the Veil stalwarts Craig Kelly and Zakaia Cvitanovich. Al-Jadir and Cvitanovich, who are the prime movers of Resuscitation and Beyond the Veil respectively, are also writing a prologue and epilogue to ‘bookend’ the production.

The collaboration makes sense: the theatre community in Abu Dhabi isn’t huge, and there’s already some crossover between the companies. But they are keen to stress that it’s not a merger: although the joint venture carries a label – Resuscitation and Beyond (or ReBe for short) – both will remain separate entities and will retain their individual identities for future productions.

They certainly have different objectives. As the name suggests, Resuscitation Theatre sees its primary task as breathing new life into old classics, especially Shakespeare. Beyond the Veil’s main objective is to stage Arab plays, particularly new works and particularly those by Emirati authors. But the distinctions obviously aren’t dogmatic.

“I think it’s important for theatregoers to realise that neither of us is in competition and that we are doing this for our love of the medium,” said Resuscitation’s Faisal Al-Jadir “The collaboration is a blessing and doing short plays is always a welcoming challenge.”

“Faisal and I have always wanted to stage a production together, one which highlights the talent of company members,” says Cvitanovich, founder and Artistic Director of Beyond the Veil. “My personal belief is that collaboration is the heart and soul of theatre. It’s the way I direct and how I see Beyond the Veil.”

The proposed dates for the one-act play festival have yet to be confirmed, but the target is 18-21 April.

More information from Zakaia Cvitanovich here.


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