There is no question of my cultural highlight for October: I got to spend 5 days in San Francisco at the start of the month thanks to the Doris Duke Foundation and Golden Thread Theatre’s Reorient Festival. The festival is a celebration of short plays from/ about the Middle East and it included my offering Bitterenders. You can see the full programme here but highlights for me were Hassan Abdulrazzaks Last Kingdom and Mona Mansour’s beautiful, gossamer and sad play The House. And as if that wasn’t enough the last weekend of the 6 week run includes the Reorient forum which features a host of talks and discussions including – this year – a panel titled: Theatre Between Home and Exile: New Palestinian Voices which I was privileged to be speaking on along with such luminaries as Co-Chairs: Dr. Mas’ud Hamdan (Professor, University of Haifa, and Playwright and Scholar, Haifa) and Professor Rebekah Maggor (Affiliate at the Warren Center, Harvard University, and Translator and Scholar, Boston), and Panelists: Ismail Khalidi, Dalia Taha and becuase of stupid visa restrictions Yasser Abu Shaqra and Rama Haydar via Skype.
I had a brilliant time meeting all these artists as well as Torange Yeghiazarian, Evren Odcikin and many many other inspiring people. It was heaven.
I even saw some films – Suffragette had me in bits. Great performances and I can’t believe it’s taken so long for this story to be told on screen. And Selma – phew – amazing, another one it’s taken too long to be told in the main stream and begs the question, how far have we actually come?
I was also charmed by First Love is the Revolution at Soho, and impressed and harrowed by Cuttin It on Radio 4. It transfers to a theatre near you next year and I’ll certainly be along to see how it’s adapted for stage.
Here’s October in full:
1 October - Inside Out 1 October - True Detective 1 October - Far From the Madding crowd 3 October - ReOrient 4 October - ReOrient 4 October - Homeland 4 October - The Affair 5 October - Aloha 7 October - Doctor Foster 8 October - orange in the new black 9 October - Gaz Coombes 10 October - orange is the new black 11 October - From Darkness 12 October - From Darkness 13 October - HOME FRONT OMNIBUS 13 October - Georgian singers at the Barbican 14 October - HOME FRONT OMNIBUS 14 October - River 15 October - Unforgotten 19 October - HOME FRONT OMNIBUS 19 October - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ARTHUR MILLER 20 October - CUTTIN' IT 20 October - River 21 October - Detectorists 25 October - Suffragette 25 October - From Darkness 29 October - HOME FRONT OMNIBUS 29 October - First Love is Revolution 30 October - Selma 30 October - River
Key: live performances (including music and theatre), telly dramas, books, films, RADIO DRAMA, art exhibitions
November promises lots more good telly, I want to see if I can get to Brooklyn at the cinema but might try and read the book first, and a gig at the Barbican for Lebanese band Mashrou Leila whose music I adore so can’t wait to see how they are live.