THE DANAID PROJECT
Developing Artists is proud to be supporting a worldwide collaboration between leading arts institutions on an ambitious project which seeks to recreate the lost plays in Aeschylus' Danaid epic.
We are excited to be helping to deliver the international development of the next play in this ancient theatrical cycle, Egyptians. This includes supporting leading institutions worldwide, including El Warsha Theatre Company in Cairo and the Centre for Stick Arts in Mallawi, Upper Egypt, which have faced significant difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and cuts to arts funding, culminating in a performance in Cairo supported by the British Council in Egypt.
Egyptians will premier at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in February 2023, in partnership with the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, University of Kent, with the support of Developing Artists.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Suppliant Women opens a cycle of four plays by Aeschylus, first performed in Athens in 463 BC. It’s one of the earliest Greek plays to have survived. The other three tragedies, Egyptians and Danaids, and the satyr play Amymone, have been lost to history.
The Suppliant Women has been staged in the UK at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh and the Young Vic, London, in a new version by renowned Scottish playwright David Greig. This critically-acclaimed production was staged at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in November 2021, led by creative team The Foreign Office and producers Wild Yak.
Developing Artists is now supporting the project as the team begin the process of reconstructing the final three plays. Since only fragments remain, the plays are being recreated through a workshop process in collaboration with some of the world’s leading classical scholars, arts organisations and practitioners.
We are proud to be working with Wild Yak and the Foreign Office to deliver the international development of the next play in the cycle, Egyptians. This includes providing to arts institutions including El Warsha Theatre Company in Cairo and the Centre for Stick Arts in Mallawi, Upper Egypt. Our main intention is to ensure deprived communities and arts institutions facing financial difficulty can engage with this ambitious project.
Egyptians will premier at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in February 2023.
More information about the project can be found on www.thedanaids.com.
EL WARSHA THEATER COMPANY
Developing Artists provided El Warsha with a grant in March 2022 that supported the company and their artists collaborate with our partners in developing the second part of The Danaid Project, Egyptians, culminating in a performance in Cairo supported by the British Council in Egypt.
El Warsha is an independent theatre troupe, established in 1987, working on theatrical forms that embrace the rhythm of life, united together by a quest for new horizons of wonder, and communicating their cultural world-view through working in parallel on the creative process of reaching-in and our outreach activities. They have performed and toured their plays locally and internationally, within the Arab World and beyond. They were the first Egyptian company to perform at the Avignon Festival, France.
They started by adapting/Egyptianizing Western plays with increasing freedom until 1992 (Handke, Dario Fo / Franca Rame, Pinter, Kafka, and Jarry). Then they explored the traditional performance arts of Egypt that preceded the introduction of European theatre in the 19th Century, and created their own plays after long periods of research and training. They later took everyday life as a source for theatre, and also produced two Egyptian masterpieces of the 20th Century.
They are now exploring the new Syrian writing, after trying to tell the story of the Egyptian Revolution ("Zawaya, Testimonies of the Revolution"), and after attempting to re-tell the story of Troy … exploring insights of the Palestinian ‘Poet of Troy’ Mahmoud Darwish about "The Wisdom of Reversals", relating this to the recent wars against Gaza.
El Warsha’s method of work is long term and cumulative. The creative process is about the journey and the unravelling path, maintaining in the Present a dialogue between the Past and the Future.
El Warsha offers on-going training opportunities for young artists who wish to work as professionals. They cooperated with the Jesuits and Brothers Association in Menya to form a Centre for the Performing Arts, training children and animateurs, and established a Centre for the Stick Arts in Mallawi, Menya, Middle Egypt.