Delegations For Dialogue hosts first 'Dialogue Now' talk about Afghanistan

Delegations For Dialogue Afghanistan

Four decades of domestic and international conflicts have left Afghanistan's infrastructure, education and culture in tatters. The destruction of these three national pillars has resulted in a generation of effectively stateless people, and the future of this traumatised country remains bleak. 

The focus of this 'Dialogue Now' talk was on how performing arts could effectively spread critical thinking and challenge social oppression for those who otherwise lack a platform on which to do so. Women in Afghanistan face near total social segregation, something reflected in the country's harsh marital laws and religious extremism, and empowerment through the performing arts may be key to bringing about wider social reform. 

These  issues were addressed by Mahmood Sharifi and Taher Beg, two Afghan actors who migrated to Iran, and then to France. They shared their personal perspectives on Europe and the Middle-East, and how they initiated a performing arts movement in Afghanistan ten years ago. 

*** Our speakers ***

During their performing arts studies at Kabul University, Mahmood Sharifi and Taher Beg both took part in Théâtre du Soleil's workshop led by famous French stage director Arianne Mnouchkine. In 2005, with the workshop's other participants, they co-founded the Aftaab Theatre, a theatre company supported by Théâtre du Soleil. Working with directors like Hélène Cinque or Matthias Langhof, this company played some theatre classics in the Persian language, such as "Romeo & Juliet", "Le Tartuffe", "L'Avare", at the French cultural center in Kabul and at Duchambé, in Tadjikistan. Based on their own stories and experiences regarding wars, education, migrations and identities' quest, they produced some French-Afghan original collective creations, such as "On That Day" (2009) and "The Round Night" (2012). In a decade, Aftaab played dozens of representations at Théâtre du Soleil and all around France, including Calais and the Avignon theatre Festival, but also Milan or Barcelona. 

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