Shubbak Artistic Director, Eckhard Thiemann, will be sharing his professional expertise this week when he acts as a mentor at The Festival Academy's Atelier for Arts and Production Managers Elevsis-Beirut.

26 emerging arts and production managers from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Palestine, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey have been selected to take part in this unique training programme which places the arts, the artist and the audience at its core.

The five day event is an exciting opportunity for experts and emerging art and production managers to explore different ways of programming and producing artistic work and developing arts organisations. Guided by professionals, the cohort will have the chance to meet peers working in different contexts and disciplines, and learn from in-depth presentations and discussions.

The discussions will be relevant and topical and include: the challenges of international and regional cultural collaboration; the role of festivals in dealing with contemporary issues (inequality, racism, social cohesion and decolonisation for example); and managing key cultural and political differences.

The event will be facilitated by Mike Van Graan, playwright and project manager at Sustaining Theatre and Dance Foundation (STAND), South Africa.

In addition to Eckhard, the mentors include Lina Attel - Founder, Director General The National Center for Culture and Performing Arts; Rania Kamhawi - Senior Programme Development Manager and Director, Amman Contemporary Dance Festival; Roy Luxford - Production Manager, Edinburgh International Festival; Yolanda Markopoulou - Director and Creative Producer, Polyplanity Productions; and Biljana Tanurovska - Co-Curator Lokomotiva Festival for Contemporary Art and Performance.

They will be joined by an array of speakers from theatre companies and cultural institutions across the world including Omar Abi Azar, Zoukak Theater Company; Ahmed Tobasi, The Freedom Theatre; Ouafa Belgacem, Culture Funding Watch and Hamza Boulaiz, Spectacle Pour Tous.

The Festival Academy is an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA) which has united distinguished music, dance, theatre and multi-disciplinary arts festivals since 1952. It believes festivals play a vital role in connecting people and civil society structures. As a global community, it supports the idea that reflections by artists, arts and cultural managers and cross-sectoral stakeholders can bring about change through ideas and proposals for human interactions based on knowledge, respect and tolerance.

A global community of nearly 800 festival managers from over 90 countries, The Festival Academy offers training formats and peer to peer exchanges on festival management to emerging, dynamic and passionate festival makers across diverse geographical, cultural and social backgrounds worldwide.

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