Middle East and North Africa
SICA continues its work in the Mediterranean and Arab World with the programme Mediterranean Crossings
SICA will follow up its one-year project called Arabica Robusta. The year 2008 saw exploratory missions to Syria, the Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iran and the Palestinian territories. In 2009 the first batch of projects for cooperation was launched. We have now reached the third phase, in which we (SICA, MCN and TIN) will, with financial support from the Fonds Podiumkunsten, consolidate our network and solidify the foundations for expansion of the project.
In 2008, SICA coordinated the the Exploratory Project Cultural Exchange Mediterranean and Arab World for all sector organizations. Building on this project, SICA, working together with MCN and SICA, and with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund, started a practical project in 2009 under the title Arabica Robusta.
During the year in question Dutch musicians, theater makers and choreographers gave workshops and master classes in the above mentioned countries, whilst residencies were organized for a number of (young) theater and dance makers and musicians as well as general managers.
In addition to this, we looked for short term possibilities to bring performances over to The Netherlands. The workshops were not only concerned with the performance level, but also focused on further development in such diverse fields as commercial management and scenography.
Dutch theatre and dance have thus reached many venues and festivals in the region, both large and small, and both official and informal. This had led to a large, enthusiastic and efficient network of professionals in theatre and music, consisting of officials and aficionados.
During this third phase we will consolidate the existing network and solidify the foundations for expansion. We will further embed working with this region in the cultural field and in our own organisations.
Egypt, Syria, the Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iran host a number of independent festivals and companies/podia that during Arabica Robusta proved capable of organizing high level activities in cooperation with their Dutch partners. These organizations are run on a professional footing and are able to raise funds towards their activities.
In order to maximize the chances of success for this project as a whole we have now, after the first general round of activity which featured a great diversity of partners, identified those partners in every country that appear most likely to be able to independently pursue the course we set out on, because they will be in a position to:
- independently select their Dutch partners for future cooperation;
- independently select from the Dutch theatre and music scenes which performances may be suitable for presentation;
- employ the network they have now established in The Netherlands to approach the right people for possible capacity building;
- where possible gear activities in the region to one another, thus enabling tours by Dutch companies to take place, rather than single or incidental visits.
Moreover, we are here concerned with organizations that have clear ideas of their own about the artistic content of their programmes. We prefer to think in terms of local demand, as this will better guarantee a long-term future for the project.
In order to maximize effectivity we are working closely together with the Dancing on the Edge Festival. Our aim is that during Phase 4 (from mid-2012) the region will be a regular feature in the international long-term applications of Dutch makers and companies.