Sunday , December 17 2017

Reflecting on cross-culturalism this Ramadan

Alison Shan Price
Alison Shan Price
Ramadan is a time of reflection. A time that enables us to remember the opportunities we are given for cross-cultural communication and exchange. Very few countries can boast the same integration and present-day acceptance of so many different nationalities, a country where history, culture, faith and commerce are interwoven into daily life. Kuwait is a country which accepts that the future is inevitable and must be planned for but the past must be celebrated and revered. Much in the global field of science, architecture, mathematics and medicine have their foundations in the East where women went to university a thousand years before their Western counterparts.

Whilst culture is vital to retain ritual and customs, cross-culture creates a fusion of styles — a synergy — harmony through working together in creation. All over the world artists of different nationalities and faiths are meeting together to discuss and create art in studios, theatres, at airports, in coffee shops, on streets. Kuwait is a forerunner in cross cultural art in the Middle East. Indeed the DAI Cultural Centre was the birthplace of our bilingual theatrical production Antigone-An Arabian Tragedy. Created by a multi-cultural team of artists, in 2015, the 3,000-year-old play was presented for the first time in both Arabic and English simultaneously. The show paralleled the lives of two women of the same name in 50AD Celtic Britain and 1990 Kuwait. Artists from the East and West worked together to show that our personal stories throughout history are the same and we have the capacity to support each other. Most importantly, in the process, we realised our similarities, that we all love, hate, cry, feel pain and happiness in exactly the same way. Audiences in Kuwait and UK spoke of their cathartic release of emotion on empathising with characters of different nationalities and realising shared experiences. Unifying people must be an ultimate goal in today’s world. Thank you Kuwait for the opportunity.

 

Alison Shan Price, Founder and CEO of the multi-cultural One World Actors Centre CIC, has been living in Kuwait with her family since 1984. In August the Actors Centre will present the bilingual UNICEF fundraiser The Blue Box-Memories of the Children of War on the world stage in UK at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Inspired by the stories of The Blue Box by teenage author Emma Abdullah and recollections of victims of war, the production was first previewed at Dar Noor in November 2015 and premiered at the DAI Cultural Centre in Kuwait in April 2016.

By Alison Shan Price

 

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