Date Posted: 2004-03-06 07:41:57
Emmanuel and I met with the Townhouse Gallery to gauge their interest in supporting one of our projects.
The Townhouse Gallery is a major arts organization in Cairo with the charter to support and develop contemporary culture in Egypt. They present some of the best Egyptian, European and Western contemporary Visual and Digital Artists in their galleries, as well as present contemporary performance and experimental film for the public free of charge.
The premises is inspiring. Located in Downtown Cairo
smack in the middle of Cairo street culture, the Townhouse consists of a huge industrial warehouse space, an adjoining Annex (or garage) configured for a visual art gallery, along with a 3 storey building (typical rustic Cairo style - beautiful) where the organizations offices are, with meeting room, conference room, rehearsal space and exhibition venue for films and lecturers.
When I first saw the space on Emmanuels recommendation
I fell in love
perfect venue for a Performance Installation I just knew I had to get one of my project outcomes in this venue.
So we met with a man called Yasser Gerab a leading player in the organization and Visual Artist himself. Yasser is a dwarf with major disfigurement of the hands
so for him to be a successful Visual Artist demands great respect
although shaking his hand is quite awkward.
So I pitched him our idea assisted by Emmanuel and Amaal (Yassers assistant) for translation to Arabic. I told him about my work, my professional history, why I was in Cairo and what I wanted to do at the Townhouse. I told him about our Performance Installation project which involved the collaboration of Sudanese Artists on a contemporary performance that utilised sound, projected image, drama, movement, design and visual art to create a highly charged interactive experience for the audience. I told him about Theatre of Cruelty and Theatre of the Oppressed
manipulating an audience to experience emotions
fucking with the performance/audience relationship
the power of symbol, gesture, metaphor the surreal and the absurd.
I told him we needed rehearsal space, as well as performance space for 3 nights. I told him we needed marketing and infrastructure support (lights, sound, projectors). I told him we had no money but plenty of ideas and experience to pull it off. I told him that it would be perfect for his organization and venue to support this project as Producer.
And he agreed!
So the deal is this
in principal (until we sign a contract)
we can use their rehearsal space
they will give us marketing
they will supply equipment and/or contacts with businesses that can offer in-kind
they will seek funding for us (if appropriate) but we can only have the space for performance for one night (due to other bookings)
for the other two nights they will approach other venues to present the work on our behalf
including The Cairo Opera House!
what an outcome!
The opportunity to get Sudanese Artists on to a mainstream stage such as Townhouse and Opera House
what a triumph! And for a Sudanese project to form partnership with one of Cairos key arts organizations
what a triumph!
We still have paper work to do and to nut out some details. They want me to teach Drama in their workshop program which I am happy to do if they honour their part of the agreement.
We left the meeting extremely happy, excited and scared. So much work to do. So much potential for success and legacy.
It also means that every project that Emmanuel and I have visioned together is happening
they are all in the process of development in varying capacities. We have so much happening its mind blowing.
there goes my free time
but I did say that I wanted to be busy!
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