MAHARAT: Building Careers in Performing Arts 2023

Ettijahat- Independent Culture has launched the 2023 edition of MAHARAT: Building Careers in Performing Arts, in partnership with DROSOS FOUNDATION, targeting technicians working within the Performing Arts sector who are looking to enhance their technical skills in the field of Sound, Lighting, and Stage Management Techniques. The programme aims to raise the level of professionalism of technicians in the various fields of performing arts, provide them with the skills and abilities to build new careers, enhance the capacity of those working in technical disciplines, and improve their ability to contribute to public life and to the labour market
The programme allows participants to engage in a specialized training curriculum facilitated over 14 weeks, at an average of 3 hours daily, divided over three days per week. The programme was designed by a number of experts in the field of performing arts, includes general and specialized theoretical and applied knowledge, and provides networking and internship opportunities with local artists. 
Selected Participants

Lighting Techniques

Toufic Safawi: Member of Sheghel Beit Group. Installed and implemented lighting for several plays.

Sophie Al Hajj Hasan: Actress, director, and theatre student currently working on a play written and directed by Hanna Yazbek as part of the Zoukak mentorship programme.

Ahmad Masri: Theatre student at the Lebanese University with experience in directing, theatre management, assistant director, actor preparation, and lighting design.

Mohammed Nayef: Private nurse for the theatre. Has worked with director Yehya Jaber.

Melissa Hojeij: Drama teacher and theatre student at the Lebanese University. 

Zainab Mawassi: Graduate of the Department of Theatre at the Lebanese University, Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture. Currently pursuing her Masters studies in theatre directing.

Ghazwan El Ammari: Technical assistant at the Lebanese Puppet Theatre.

Fadi Sabra: Freelance cinematographer, composer, and sound recorder for productions.

Sound Techniques:

Majd Al Dabbous: Working independently on a music album, combining four poems from four Arab capitals with oriental electronic music.

Bilal Kayed: Project Support Officer at ARCPA. Mechanical engineer, life skills trainer, employability skills, entrepreneurship and computer technologies. Responsible for the youth programme at ARCPA.

Abdulrahman Al Darwish: Independent technical and logistical assistant at Hammana Artist House. Works in agriculture with his father.

Ossama Al Dahwish: Centre supervisor, working in the field of psychological support. Trains young people on life skills and works in the field of electricity, lighting, and sound.

Jana Mghames: Freelancer (dubbing, acting, directing, training).

Anthony Maksoudian: Social worker, music teacher, musician. Member of and composer at YANSOON, music producer, and co-writer.

Ali Shehab: Sound production and film sound design freelancer. His song "W’Oud" has garnered more than 80,000 views and is available on YouTube, SoundCloud, and Anghami.

Stage Management:

Bassel Al Dakkak: Acting graduate from the School of Theatrical Art in 2019 and Latin salsa dancer. 

Obada Al Aqbani: Percussionist with several independent bands, works part-time as a sound technician in concerts and is currently working with a group of musicians to work on a musical production independently accompanied by visual content.

Omar Al Bakeer: Student, dancer, puppeteer, actor, and photographer. Currently working on a theatre project about adolescence with his companions.

Raja Al Zein: Financial Officer at a number of international organizations. Worked on the play Godot Garden and with Sheghel Beit.

Hussein Al Hassan: Theatrical and cinematic acting, puppet animation, puppet making, expressive dance, clowning, drawing and painting, live improvisational drawing, graffiti, clowning.

Dima Al Attar: Puppeteer and scenographer.

Mustafa Kattaf: Works with a computer and server programming company. Worked as a programme producer at Radio Al-Rasheed in the Syrian province of Raqqa, and at the technical department of Al-Youm TV, Al-Hasakah Governorate. 

Michelle Feghali: Theatre student working at the main office of a summer camp.

Selection Committee

Jawad Chaaban – Sound Techniques

Sound engineer, Professor, and Composer, Jawad Chaaban has worked with local and international venues and performers, managing over 2000 live performances and composing sound for a variety of theatre and film productions. After moving to Canada to study Electroacoustic Music, he was selected in 2009 for the National Film Board’s “Making Music 3″ series. In 2011, he won the Industry Award for Best Original Score at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, while another of his collaborations was selected at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2014, he founded the One Hertz music studio to accompany and support independent audio and musical projects in the Arab Region. His most recent sound design was for the documentary “Underdown”.

Hagop Der Ghougassian – Lighting Techniques

Actor, Director, and Lighting Designer, Hagop Der-Ghougassian holds a PhD in Film Directing and Film Research from IESAV-USJ. He began working as a lighting designer in 1994 with more than 100 lighting credits in theatre, in addition to being the technical manager of Monot Theater since 1997. He is also the founder of the Mephisto Group and Collectif de l’ACT and has directed various plays and short films. Today he is a professor at the Institute for Theater, Audiovisual and Cinematographic Studies (IESAV) and at the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University.

Aliya Khalidi – Stage Management Techniques

With an MA in directing and a PhD in Arabic Theatre from the United Kingdom, Aliya Khalidi is a theatre director and professor of 12 years at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, where she teaches Theatre in the Arab World, and Theatre Production. She has more than 17 years of experience in theatre as a performer and director, with her play 80 Steps, written by Randa Khalidi, chosen to represent Lebanon in a competition at the Arab Theatre Festival in Sharjah, UAE in January 2014. Alongside her theatre work, Aliya has trained over 100 professionals in public speaking, and collaborated with various television stations such as DUBAI TV and MBC, in addition to training Jury members for the television shows Arab Idol, Arabs Got Talent, and X-Factor.

Selection Committee Statement

This year, the third edition has seen similar numbers of applicants however, the selection criteria was much more focused aiming at giving candidates a fair opportunity to be part of it. Trainees with vast levels of experience, from the enthusiastic active beginner all the way to the independent artist or the self-taught looking to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and skills, were selected to exchange experiences to enrich the role of mentorship which is an asset in the workplace. Despite the meticulous selection process and the subsequent challenging events that have rocked the country, the trainees display heightened motivation and a strong thirst for learning. The sessions aim to strike the perfect balance between learning the rigorous foundations and the hands-on interactive approach. This edition’s trainees have been very enthusiastic about their roles as pivotal figures in theatrical productions, and events and are confronting adverse circumstances with their enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, determination, commitment, and an overarching passion for their work. We anticipate the emergence of exceptionally capable graduates whom we will take pride in mentoring, and we expect that this year’s graduates will land more placements in the workplace, due to the community’s recent realization of the importance of technicians and stage managers in all productions.


© الحقوق محفوظة اتجاهات- ثقافة مستقلة 2023
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