Hakawy Children Festival kicks off, commemorates Nagy Shaker
CAIRO – 8 March 2019: Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children launched its 9th edition on Wednesday evening at El Hanager Theatre, Cairo Opera House.
The official inaugural ceremony witnessed the presence of Inas Abdel Dayem, minister of Culture, the British ambassador to Egypt Geoffrey Adams, representatives from the U.S., Netherland and Denmark embassies, senior officials, and large number of children from all over the world.
Hakawy Festival will last for two weeks until March 20, taking place in three cities over nine venues, namely Cairo (March 7-15), Alexandria (March 4-5) and El-Minya (March 16).
Under the patronage of the ministry of culture, the festival presents this year eight international shows and nine Egyptian performances.
The festival opens with El-Leila El-Kebria (The Grand Night), Egypt's internationally renowned puppet operetta, which was written by renowned poet Salah Jahin and composed by Sayed Mekawy. The performance commemorates veteran puppeteer Nagy Shaker, who passed away in August last year.
Among this edition's highlights is Storm, by the Bamboozle Theatre (UK); especially made for children with autism. Storm uses elements of Shakespeare's The Tempest and weaves them into a dramatic sequence embracing the sea, ships, islands and magic. The 45-minute long play will be accessible for children aged from 6 to 14; at El-Hanager Gallery on March 7, 8, and 9.
Moreover, the festival will include a workshop for dancers by Jack Timmermans; director of de Stilte Dance Company and another workshop for singers and actors by Kwatta. In addition to a seminar by Christopher Davies about artificial intelligence through an artistic perspective.
Egypt today interviewed Mohamed El Ghawy, founder and director of Hakawy festival, about the latest updates of the 9th edition of Hakawy festival, and reasons behind the absences of any Arab or African participation.
"We consolidated our efforts to well organize this edition in a way that crowns Egypt as a platform for culture in the Arab region. One year after another, the festival gained wide fame among the public; this year we offered only 243 chairs for our audience, imagine we got more than 13 thousand people who eagerly wanted to attend our shows," El Ghawy stated.
“I would like to thank the Ministry of Culture for such support to get much more international participation represented in eight shows, the from Holland, one from France that are accessible for 10+ children and another one from Denmark that is accessible from children from one to four, besides an exclusive shows from America and the UK, made especially for autistic children,” he added.
"The festival includes an Egyptian focus with nine shows, namely the Grand Night, Stick Fighters of the Nile by El Warsha, Medhat Fawzy, Home show by Hend El Shimy, The Elephant in the Room by Isra El Ghazali, "Esmaani" (Listen) by the Goethe-Institute in Alexandria, Imagination seven by Kayan and Nouse," El Ghawy further elaborated.
He further promised that the 10th edition will witness more Arab and African's contribution.
"The Grand Night has been presenting from 1961 until today; which reflects Professor Nagy Shaker's greatness and innovation. In spite of advanced technology and huge progress; Shaker brilliantly has created a show that would last forever, amusing generation after generation. So, we dedicated the 9th edition of the festival to his soul and his wife; now it is our turn to pay his favor back. We owe a deep gratitude for this great man, God bless his soul," El Ghawy said.
The British ambassador also noted to Egypt today that he is proud of the cooperation between the British embassy and the ministry of culture in supporting this festival.
"Everything about the show was wonderful, and the opening night was wonderful," the ambassador added.