ITI Centre Egypt

Dear International Friends and Colleagues:

We, the founding members of the Egyptian Centre of the International Theatre Institute, have been witnessing with increasing alarm the vicious onslaught against the defining foundations of Egyptian culture, with theatre and the performing arts at the forefront. However variously understood and appraised, these foundations are widely believed to have crystallised with the onset of the modern Egyptian State in the late nineteenth century, but in fact they had always been rooted in the very fabric of this land, an inherently cosmopolitan multi-religious and multi-ethnic culture if there ever was one. As Egyptians, but also as members of the global cultural community, we cannot allow such a glorious tradition to suffer erosion at the hands of those who could not adapt to it, whether at home or in the region.

The Islamists’ declared jihad against the arts is currently spearheaded by none other than the regime’s Ministry of Culture, thanks to the recent appointment at its helm of a certain Alaa Abdel-Aziz, an obscure film lecturer with a paltry academic record and practically no professional or public service credentials save his adoption of the cultural discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood ruling faction (or, more aptly, its anti-arts one). In a typical demonstration of this populist rhetoric, Abdel-Aziz had this to say at a recent press conference “I ask those leading the ferocious campaign against me: What have they ever contributed to Egypt’s culture? What have they ever given to the enlightened Egyptian people? Postrevolution Egypt should not be captive to a group that has not been able to effectively touch Egyptians with creativity over long decades.”

While the problem of a certain disconnect between the intelligentsia and their constituencies is by no means unique to Egypt, we believe it is either moronic or hypocritical (or, more likely, both) to question the contributions of generations of artists in the various fields of the performing and fine arts and their far reaching role in establishing and popularising these arts not only in Egypt, but all over the Arab world, not to mention world-renowned literary and artistic figures of the stature of Bahaa Taher, Sonallah Ibrahim, Ramzi Yassa, Alaa Al-Aswany, Lenin El-Ramly, Nawal El-Saadawi, Fatheya El-Assal, and Salwa Bakr, all of whom are now calling for the removal of Abdel-Aziz and the parochial, theocratic regime for which he stands.

The International Theatre Institute, an active UNESCO entity with centres and affiliate bodies in the four corners of the world, has an urgent mission to protect the free circulation of culture in one of this world’s most ancient civilizations. We therefore call upon all concerned to mobilise in whatever way they think fit, but we also hope that this call for action will set in motion an ongoing dialogue with our worldwide friends and colleagues so that we may work with one another against the not-so-secret agenda to remake Egypt and its cultural field after the worldview of its ruling cabal.

We await your ideas and initiatives at

Interim Founding Board

The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts

The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts is over for this time.

Thanks to everyone involved on and behind the stage, students, organizers and participants in workshops, international guests and especially to the audience!

The next Swedish Biennial for Performing Art will take place in Malmö 2015. See you there!

A few days to go

The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts is organized by Teaterunionen and will take place in Jönköping May 21–26 2013. The host theatre for 2013 is Smålands Musik & Teater.

The Biennial features guest appearances with productions from across Sweden, workshops, seminars and many other opportunities for artistic exchange and dialogue.

Read more anout the Biennial at the website.

The International Dance Day 2013 message

It is said in the Great Preface of “The Book of Songs,” an anthology of Chinese poems dating from the 10th to the 7th century BC:

“The emotions are stirred and take form in words.
If words are not enough, we speak in sighs.
If sighs are not enough, we sing them.
If singing is not enough, then unconsciously
our hands dance them and our feet tap them.”

Dance is a powerful expression.
It speaks to earth and heaven.
It speaks of our joy, our fear and our wishes.
Dance speaks of the intangible, yet reveals the state of mind of a person and the temperaments and characters of a people.

Like many cultures in the world, the indigenous people in Taiwan dance in circle.
Their ancestors believed that evils would be kept out of the circle.
With hands linked, they share the warmth of each other and move in communal pulses.
Dance brings people together.

And dance happens at the vanishing point.
Movements disappear as they occur.
Dance exists only in that fleeting instant.
It is precious. It is a metaphor of life itself.

In this digital age, images of movements take millions of forms.
They are fascinating.
But, they can never replace dance because images do not breathe.
Dance is a celebration of life.

Come, turn off your television, switch off your computer, and come to dance.
Express yourself through that divine and dignified instrument, which is our body.
Come to dance and join people in the waves of pulses.
Seize that precious and fleeting moment.
Come to celebrate life with dance.

Lin Hwai-Min, founder and artistic director  Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

© LIU Chen-hsiang

© LIU Chen-hsiang

ACAR announcement

ACAR protests against dismissal of Valery N. Raykov, general manager of the Saratov Youth Theatre

Mid of January, the local government of the Saratov region (Russia) removed the general manager of one of the most prominent Russian theatres. He was indicted to be responsable for a fire accident in the theatre in October 2012. Valeriy Nickolayevich Raykov, who was leading the Saratov Youth Theatre named after Kisselev since 30 years to high national and international reputation, was fired contrary to the wishes of the theatre staff.

Alfira Arslanova, Secretary General, ITI-Russia:
“The dismissal took place after the fire in the theatre which happened in October last year, in spite of fire-prevention was found in accordance with norms and regulations and the theatre manager wasn’t charged with anything. The Governor of Saratov Region neither gave an official reply to the theatre nor considered it necessary to answer many appeals of prominent Russian and foreign professionals of performing arts in defense of a person who spent more than 30 years serving theatre famous in Russia and abroad for its productions.
There are letters from Professional Guild of Theatre Managers of Russia, Theatre Union of Russia, employees of Saratov Youth Theatre and stage director Matthias Langhoff. They are written by professionals in support of their colleague, whose prolonged absence from the theatre does only harm to both the theatre centre and theatre-lovers.
ITI Russian National Centre voices a protest against this kind of ill treatment of performing arts professionals on the part of bureaucracy and demands local authorities of Saratov Region to start dialogue”

Ann Mari Engel, President of ACAR and Vice President of the ITI wrote in an open letter to the Governor of the Saratov Region:
“We want to join the Russian centre of the International Theatre Institute in its protest and request to reinstate V.N.Raykov in the position of theatre manager. We regard this arbitrary decision; made against the wishes of the theatre company, to be a violation of the freedom of the arts. We urge the authorities to start a constructive dialogue with the theatre and to listen to all the voices from the international theatre community.”

Alexander A.Kalyagin, President, People’s Artist of Russia
A.E.Polyankin, President, Professional Guild of Theatre Managers of Russia
(English translation)
Interational supporters: Letter from Matthias Langhoff (German/French director)

Member of Teaterunionen

Everyone who works professionally with performing arts can become a member of Teaterunionen, as an institution, organization, group or individual.

Applications shall be addressed to theboard. Please, send a mail to info (at) for questions regarding membership.

All members of Teaterunionen appoints a representative to the Council that meets twice a year. From the Council is elected Board of Directors, Education Committee and working groups on various issues.

The representatives receive regular information and our publications free of charge. Members also get help with international contacts.

Members pay an annual membership fee, based on their economic viability.

Happy Holidays

Teaterunionen’s office is closed between Christmas and New Year and will open again January 2.

The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts

The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts will take place in Jönköping May 21-26 2013. The Biennial features guest appearances with productions from across Sweden, workshops, seminars and many other opportunities for artistic exchange and dialogue.

You can find the festival program and the registration at


The ITI worldwide express our deepest concern over the judgement against Pussy Riots which is severe violation of the human rights and the freedom of expression.

We forward the statement made yesterday by the Women Playwrights International Conference (WPIC) congress in Stockholm:

WE ARE ALL PUSSY RIOT – A statement by the Women Playwrights International Conference

“The verdict on the 17th of August 2012 against Pussy Riot is an unacceptable violation of the basic human right that is free speech.

This verdict is a personal affront to all of us and a genuine threat to artistic freedom and cultural expression worldwide.

This verdict is not just an attack on three women in Russia; it is a deliberate attempt to suppress universal freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of artistic expression, freedom to dissent, as well as the right to engage in activism.

Maria, Nadezdha and Yekaterina are not alone. Do not let them think they are.
For information on how to act for the release of the Pussy Riot, visit Amnesty International´s website.

We are their sisters ­- From now on we are all Pussy Riot!

The Women Playwrights International Conference represents female artists from all over the world. We are women from 51 countries. Every continent is represented.”

Women and Creating: Rights and Possibilities

During the Women Playwrights International Conference (WPIC) in Stockholm, Teaterunionen will host a workshop/ seminar. August 17, 10.00 – 11.30

A discussion with participants and audience about working worldwide with empowering women’s rights and promoting the possibilities for women to create.

Kerstin Grebäck
, president of the organisation Women to Woman, vice-president of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, recipient of Rights Livelihood Price.

Agneta Pleijel, playwright and member of Swedish PEN. Agneta Pleijel is one of Sweden’s most prominent writers of plays and novels, professor in dramatic writing and former president of the Swedish PEN.

Katarina Bergehed, in charge of women’s rights , Amnesty Sweden

Ann Mari Engel
, managing director of Teaterunionen and  president of the Action Committee for Artist’s Rights of the International Theatre Institute

Organised by:
ITI:s Action Committee for Artist’s Rights