We here at Cairo Gossip know that we have the unfair advantage of living in Cairo, where fun and exciting events fill up our schedules and there’s always something interesting happening in different parts of the city. On the other hand, when it comes to Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, nothing much really happens there - – please don’t kill us, Alexandrians.
This is why we got super excited when we heard about the Backstreet Festival’s Joy Project. Now in its fourth year, this four-day performing arts festival is free of charge and brings together circus, theatre, film, dance and music acts from around the world to the city from March 29th to April 1st.
Highlights from the show include a collaborative dance and percussion show between Egypt’s Percussion Show and Parkour Group with Denmark’s Copenhagen Drummers, an acapella performance by Black Voices UK and acrobatics courtesy of Japan’s Hiyro. We’re also excited about the screening of Zay Oud El Kabreet, Hussein El Imam’s directorial debut that pays homage to the era of classical Egyptian cinema.
The eighteen events are spread out through Alexandrian venues such as the French Cultural Institute, Wekalet Behna and Studio Janaklees, which is a great way to explore the city and see locations from a different, artsy perspective.
Amazingly, the festival has been more or less single-handedly organised these past years by 34-year-old art producer Amina Abodoma, who comes from a family of artists including her father, Alexandrian playwright and director Mahmoud Abodoma, and her husband, musician Ayman Massoud of Masar Egbari. Despite the huge obstacles and difficulties in arranging a free arts festival in Alexandria with little funding and few sponsors, Abodoma says she does it as a tribute to her hometown.
“I’m in love with circus shows; I’ve always been,” she says. “They fill my heart with joy, which is why I called this festival the Joy Project. I just want to share this joy with others in my hometown.”
The festival is in partnership with cultural and educational institutions in Alexandria, including the British Council, Pro-helvita, DEDI, the Swedish Institute, Goethe Institut, Institut Francais d'Egypte, Japan Foundation, D-CAF and MAD solutions among others.
With the spring weather improving, we think a few days in Alexandria sounds like a great idea; especially if we can check out these exciting and alternative performances around town.
By Samar El Shams