BEIRUT: The second of the capital’s seasonal cultural events, the Beirut Spring Festival, is set to welcome a wealth of international talent to Lebanon from June 3 to 7.
Launched in 2009 by the Samir Kassir Foundation, the annual festival aims to promote tolerance and cultural diversity through multidisciplinary performances, all of which are free to the general public.
This year’s lineup begins with a performance by French dance troupe Retouramont, who will be staging their multimedia installation-cum-dance performance “Gravitational Waves.” Set to take place on June 3 outside the Beirut Souks, the performance is housed in a specially designed sculptural installation by Vincent Brédif. The dancer’s movements, choreographed by Fabrice Guillot, are amplified aurally and transformed into seeming weightlessness by 3-D projections.
On June 5, British company Gandini Juggling will grace the amphitheater of the Dawar al-SHAMS with the hit show “Smashed,” directed by Sean Gandini. Featuring nine jugglers, 80 apples and four crockery sets, the theatrical performance is inspired by the work of German dancer Pina Bausch and consists of absurdist, nostalgic scenes exploring themes of conflict, relationships, lost love and, of course, the hallowed British institution of afternoon tea.
British theater company Babakas will be diversifying the mix on June 6 with their multidisciplinary performance “Our Fathers” at Hamra’s Babel Theatre. A blend of comedy, contemporary dance and cinema, the performance is directed by Juan Ayala and explores the emotional quandary facing Mike, who argues with his boyfriend when his dead father’s friend’s daughter asks him to father her child.
The closing performance on June 7 is set to take place in Downtown’s Samir Kassir Gardens and will consist of a night of live music featuring Lebanese rapper Nasser Deen al-Touffar, accompanied by Syrian rapper Sayed Darwish and DJ Hello PsychAleppo. Entitled “Salt and Blood,” the concert will feature al-Touffar’s politically oriented repetoire, which focuses on freedom of thought and belief and women’s and workers’ rights.
Also falling under the aegis of this year’s festival week is the talk “Voices of Hostages,” which will take place at Gemmayzeh’s Dawawine on June 5. This public discussion is billeted as a tribute to reporters who risk their lives to tell the truth and will feature Italian journalist Susan Dabbous and Swedish reporter Magnus Falkehed, both of whom have been kidnapped in the course of their work but continue to report from danger zones and champion freedom of information.
The Beirut Spring Festival runs from June 3 to June 7 at multiple locations across Beirut. For more information
please call 01-397-331 or visit www.facebook.com/BeirutSpringFestival.