Sandpit Arts is a non-profit arts organisation, which creates inspiring, high participatory events for local communities. By providing platforms for presenting and discussing the diverse creative cultures of the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas, our aim is to educate and create cross-cultural understanding. Our engagement with as wide an audience as possible facilitates a more complex understanding of these arts practises and champions creativity of the highest standard.
We are also a space in which this happens dialogically by providing opportunities for Middle Eastern and North African audiences to access the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Britain. We seek to build a shared cultural memory, as we believe this is a route to a more subtle and nuanced understanding beyond the simplifications of ‘Orient’ and ‘Occident’.
Our work aims to
- explore new and critical ways of engaging with and discussing the arts practices of the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas
- foster more complex understandings of these groundbreaking works by providing platforms for showcasing them
- create entry points into this rich cultural space for those who may not be able to access them
- foster and facilitate creative dialogue between arts practitioners in Britain and those in the Middle East and North Africa
Co-Artistic Directors: Zeina Frangie-Eyres & Akkas Al-Ali
Zeina read Arabic at the School of Oriental & African Studies after which she completed a masters in Applied Translation Studies at the University of Leeds. Zeina has had extensive experience providing consultation and collaboration on projects including Shezad Dawoodʼs inshallah, Edge of Arabia, Offscreen and the Arab British Centre. Zeina has almost a decadeʼs experience of teaching in further, higher and community outreach education. She has lectured on the Arabic language, literature, cinema, society and culture.
Akkas read History at the School of Oriental & African Studies after which he completed a masters in playwriting and dramaturgy at Goldsmiths. In between, he was part of the Royal Court Theatreʼs Young Writers and Critical Mass programmes. His plays have been performed at the DSC South Asian Literature Festival 2011, the National Theatre Studio, Spill Festival 2011, Soho Theatre, Tara Arts, the Royal Court Theatre, the Oxford Playhouse and the Hackney Empire. His articles, short stories and scripts have been published by The Platform, Ceasefire Magazine, Index on Censorship, Polari Magazine, Chroma Literary Journal, Sable LitMag and Brand Literary Magazine. He is currently a PhD student in drama at the University of Exeter.
Production: Alia Alzougbi
Alia read Sociology at the American University of Beirut, after which she completed an MA in Social Anthropology. She was then awarded the British Chevening Scholarship from the British Council to pursue an MA in Applied Theatre at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She is an actress, storyteller and dancer who uses these performance traditions as tools for alternative education in schools and community settings. She was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland in the category of ‘Best Performance in Film’ and was awarded the Trailblazer award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2008, both for her title role in the film Trouble Sleeping. In 2011, she was awarded the Best Storyteller award by the Fringe Report.
Collaboration plays a key part in what we do. We’re always on the look out for new friends. Here are some of the work we’ve done in the last few months since setting up.
In April 2012, we were approached by the inspirational young people at Restless Beings to produce a short play in response to the amazing work they do around the world. The result was Invisible, which was performed at Kukusanya on 5th May – a fantastic evening celebrating Restless Beings’s fourth birthday.
In February and March, we worked closely with the University of Leeds to curate a series of film screenings, workshops and lectures. Here are some of the events we organised.
We are delighted to announce the success of The Far Pavilion which took place from 5th to 7th October 2012. Held in an arabesque marquee in the Royal Pavilion Gardens, this was Brighton’s first ever festival of Arabic culture, film, music, visual arts and live performance. For more detail see www.thefarpavilion.org.uk
We’re extremely grateful to the Arts Council, Brighton & Hove Council and all our partners and volunteers without whom we could not have put on such a wonderful event.
Though The Far Pavilion generated a lot of excitement we still need you help to ensure its success and that it will happen again.
Can you help us do it?
We’re asking our friends and admirers to dig into their pockets, look inside their sofas, search under their beds – anywhere! – to help us. Every penny you donate will go to continuing the work of The Far Pavilion. You can donate through PayPal using the button below, or contact us for more information.
See you all in Brighton this October!
6 & 7 October 2012
ROYAL PAVILION GARDENS
Free entry, workshop costs may apply
Brighton’s first ever festival of Arabic culture set in an arabesque tent in the Royal Pavilion Gardens. Join us for two days of film, music, dance and storytelling. More information and a full programme will be posted here nearer the time. Or find us on Twitter.
We still have a lot of fundraising to do. So please help us make The Far Pavilion the best event it can be by using the donate button below. More information may be found here.
ARAB SPRING RETURNS TO BRIGHTON
Sandpit Arts and The Nightingale are excited to announce a double bill of plays written in response to the Arab Spring. Supported by Arts Council England these will be running from Wednesday 8th May to Sunday 12th May 2013.
Performance begins at 7.15pm
Written by Mags Chalcraft, directed by Tanushka Marah
After a tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip collapses, professional smuggler Salim finds himself trapped with 17-year-old Ammar, a surfboard and a goat. Moving between hilarity and melancholy, Chalcraft’s play combines poetry and physicality to create a magical realist parable.
Gather Ye Rosebuds
Performance begins at 9.00pm
Written by Silva Semerciyan, and directed by Diyan Zora
When Medina invites her best friend Louise to her daughter’s circumcision party, against everyone else’s wishes, the two are forced to confront the secrets that bind them together. As well as a compelling exploration of friendship and gender set in Cairo, Semerciyan’s play is a brave indictment of the failures of the Arab Spring.
Tunnel and Gather Ye Rosebuds were selected from the winners of Bulbul 2012, our first annual playwriting competition. Writers from around the world were invited to submit 30-minute plays in response to the Arab Spring and the four winners were produced at The Nightingale in September 2012. They were chosen by an independent panel of judges: Steven Brett (artistic director, The Nightingale), Chris Taylor (director, New Writing South), Diyan Zora (creative director, Swivel Theatre Company), Julian Caddy (managing director, Brighton Fringe) and Tanushka Marah (artistic director, Company:Collisions).
‘With the incessant negative media coverage from the Middle East it is easy to become numbed and apathetic to the humanity and culture from the region and its diaspora. Bulbul is a great example of how the medium of theatre can be used to help change perceptions promote a better understanding. I hope it goes from strength to strength and I’m delighted to be involved.’
Julian Caddy Director of Brighton Fringe
We’re looking for four 30-minute plays that engage with the Arab world. This year’s theme is:
crying over the ruins
We’re going right back to the ancient poets as they stand nostalgically at the deserted campsites. How you respond to this is entirely up to you. All we ask is that your work is courageous, displays a unique voice, a strong storytelling element and a cohesive narrative.
The deadline for submission is 31st May 2013. The winning entries will be performed by a professional cast at Brighton’s Nightingale Theatre in autumn 2013. As with Bulbul 2012, two of these plays will be selected for further development for the Brighton Fringe 2014.
The winning plays will be chosen by an independent panel of judges. Last year’s panel was made up of Chris Taylor (director, New Writing South), Julian Caddy (managing director, Brighton Fringe) Steven Brett (artistic director, The Nightingale Theatre), Tanushka Marah (artistic director, Company:Collisions) and Diyan Zora (creative director, Swivel Theatre Company).
We welcome submissions from all over the world. Last year, we received entries from Muscat to Norwich!
Guidelines for entry
- Entry is free.
- Scripts must have a playing time of approximately 30 minutes.
- Scripts must have a maximum playing cast of four actors.
- Scripts should require minimal set and/or props. Our focus is on the writing!
- Please do not send us monologues, musicals, adaptations or plays for children.
- Only original, previously unproduced/unpublished scripts that are inherently theatrical with live staging at their core will be accepted. Please do not send scripts for television, radio or film.
- All scripts must be in English, typed in 12pt font and double spaced.
- Scripts (either in Word or PDF) must be submitted with a completed application form to email@example.com. Please do not put your name or contact information anywhere on your script as all submissions will be read anonymously.
- Applicants must be aged 16 or over. There is no upper age limit.
- The competition is open to writers around the world. There is no restriction on nationality or residency.
- You can submit up to three plays.
- Please note, we are unable to return scripts.
- Please do not send any amendments or further drafts once your script has been submitted.
- Please do not send cassettes, CDs, videos or sheet music with your script.
- We are unable to enter into any correspondence about scripts (except with shortlisted entries).
- The deadline for submission is 31st May 2013.
- The four winning entries will be announced on 31st July 2013.
Four writers. Four locations. One theme: the Arab Spring.
Bulbul 2012 was Sandpit Arts’ first annual playwriting competition. Writers from around the world were invited to submit 30-minute plays in response to the Arab Spring. We had entries from Muscat to Norwich, and everyone was impressed by the high quality of the writing.
The four winners were chosen by an independent panel of distinguished judges: Steven Brett (artistic director, The Nightingale), Chris Taylor (director, New Writing South), Tanushka Marah (artistic director, Company:Collisions), Julian Caddy (managing director, Brighton Fringe) and Diyan Zora (creative director, Swivel Theatre Company).
As well as being performed at The Nightingale, awarded Best Venue at the Brighton Festival Fringe 2011, the writers received a year’s free membership of New Writing South.
Read the four-star review here!
Far away from 24-hour rolling news networks, these tense, witty, absurd and melancholy plays teach us something about what it means to be a human being yearning for freedom.
by Mags Chalcraft (directed by Tanushka Marah)
starring: Lara Sawalha, Sany Baki, Robert Cohen and Nabil Elouahabi
Gather Ye Rosebuds
by Silva Semerciyan (directed by Diyan Zora)
starring: Hattie Gregory, Victoria Jones and Diyan Zora
Waiting For Summer
by Peter Raynard (directed by Seíf Shehata)
starring: Günalp Koçak and Jason Will
The Cost Of Eggs
by Yamina Bakiri (directed by Tommy Lexén)
starring: Isobel Mascarenhas-Whitman and Vikash Bhai
Lighting design by Steve Lowe
Watch out for Bulbul 2013!
Nadira currently reads Architectural Studies at University College London taking electives in art history, geopolitics and social anthropology. She has a special interest in film making and international visual arts. Performing as a Hiphop dancer at Sadlers Well’s Annual Breakin’ Convension for two years in a row, she worked for many years with youth dancers in Cambridge as part of a Arts council project (Dance Offensive). Currently working as a gallery assistant at Whitechapel Art Gallery and a part time art seller at arts fairs such as the Affordable Art Fair and the London Art Fair, she is an active member of the London art scene. Interested in Arts media, she is currently Culture correspondent for Rare FM and Chief of Pi TV (UCL media) where she was Arts editor in 2012. She is now an Arts ambassador for Sandpit arts were she will be corresponding for art events around London.
Poppy is in her second year at Brighton University, currently studying for a BA Critical Fine Art Practice. She volunteered for Sandpit Productions at The Far Pavilion last September 2012, and is back on board as a volunteer for Bulbul 2013.
Sandpitters are social creatures. We love meeting new people and organisations. You might be a writer, a musician, an artist, a filmmaker, a director, a curator, a producer, a translator, an organisation or just someone with lots of interest: we want to hear from you!
Recently, we worked with the University of Leeds to curate a season of Arabic cinema, workshops and lectures. We worked with the human rights charity Restless Beings to produce a play responding to the work they do around the world.
Our partners make our events happen. If you’re interested in working with Sandpit, in any capacity, please contact us.
Arts Council England is a government-funded body dedicated to promoting the performing, visual and literary arts. Since 1994, it has been responsible for distributing lottery funding and this investment has helped to transform the artistic landscape of England.
The Royal Pavilion is a former royal residence located in Brighton, UK. Built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823, this magnificent pleasure palace was revered by fashionable Regency society and is still a distinctive landmark for vibrant Brighton & Hove today.
The world-famous Brighton Fringe is an open access arts festival held annually in Brighton. It is the largest annual arts festival in England. In 2012, the Fringe had over 720 events taking place in over 192 venues across the city.
The Lizard Stage is a solar-powered festival and events stage and world music café which tours the country’s leading festivals. In addition, they host The Rollright Fayre in North Oxfordshire welcoming 1000+ festival-goers every year.
New Writing South is a literary development organisation for the South East, helping to create an environment in which creative writers and new writing can flourish. They offer writers development, encouragement, resources and opportunities.
The Nightingale is a theatre dedicated to supporting artistic development. Emphasising its passion for excellent work made for small spaces, it presents theatre performances across New Writing, Performance, Dance and Film, both on and off-site.
The Arab British Centre works to improve the British public’s understanding of the Arab world. It organises and promotes a range of cultural and artistic events relating to the Arab world, including Arabic language classes, exhibitions of contemporary art, public lectures.
CINECITY is a partnership between the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Screen Archive South East and the University of Brighton. It delivers a year-round programme of film and moving image events, screenings and exhibitions as well as the annual CINECITY Brighton Film Festival, the region’s major celebration of film.
Human Film is a European film production company committed to producing cutting edge films that entertain, inspire and revolutionise filmmaking to an art form, taking Art House themes into mainstream cinemas, challenging perceptions and raising questions.