Biographies The Factory
Omar Abusaada, born in 1977 in Damascus, is a Syrian director and playwright. After finishing his theatrical studies at the High Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, he worked as a dramaturge, and moved into directing later. He started to build his own vision of theater and co-founded the theatrical company Studio Theater in Damascus. For most of his works he joined forces with the Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar. Their performances take place on the boundary between fiction and documentation. They condense the travails of war and show what it means to endure them. His works include Ipheginia (2017), While I was waiting (2016), Antigone of Shatila (2014), Syria Trojan Women (2013), Intimacy (2013), Could You Please Look into the Camera? (2012), Almirwad wa almikhala (2009), Alaffich (2006) and others. He has performed internationally including at the Lincoln Center in New York, the Festival d’Avignon, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels, the Festival d‘Automne in Paris, the Zurich Theater Spektakel among others.
The playwright Mohammad Al Attar, born 1980 in Damascus, has been dealing with the Syrian Revolution and the resulting conflicts since 2011. At university, he completed a degree in English literature, followed by a degree in Theater Studies from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus. He then completed a master’s degree in Applied Theater at London’s Goldsmiths University. Today, he is considered an important chronicler of war-torn Syria. His plays like: Withdrawal, Online, Look at the street...this is what hope looks like, Could You Please Look into the Camera?, and While I was waiting were staged at various international festivals and venues. For most of his plays he joined forces with the Syrian director Omar Abusaada. They have now completed their theatrical trilogy dedicated to the lives of women seeking refuge from war. Following the adaptation Syria Trojan Women (2013) in Jordan and Antigone of Shatila (2014) in Lebanon, Iphigenia was staged at Volksbühne Berlin in September 2017. In 2017 in Berlin, Al Attar has premiered Aleppo, a Portrait of Absence at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Beside his writings for stage, Al Attar has written for numerous magazines and newspapers, with a special focus on the Syrian Uprising.
Lina Murad, born in 1970 in Damascus, studied Acting at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus followed by Theater Studies at the Nouvelle Sorbonne / Paris 3 and Film at CIFAP in Montreuil. She has acted in leading roles in numerous film, television and theater productions, both in Syria and in France, (e.g. Pascal Rambert’s Gilgamesh) and has been a jury member at a range of international film festivals. She also uses her talents to create films and plays with children living in Syrian and Jordanian refugee camps.
Ramzi Choukair, born 1971 in Beirut, Lebanon, is a Syrian-French actor and theater director. After his Acting Degree at the Damascus Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in 1994, he continued his studies in Avignon and Paris (Paris VIII). After his return to Syria, Choukair became the artistic and technical director of the Damascus Opera House, directed several plays, i.e. Al-Zîr Sâlem and the Prince Hamlet, which he adapted from one Eastern play (Al-Zîr Sâlem) and one Western play (Hamlet), and taught acting at the Higher Institute. Back in Europe he created in collaboration with the Jean-Vilar Theater in Vitry-sur-Seine the Mediterranean Arts Platform Al-Wasl Festival and worked as a specialist in Arabic contemporary theater at Théâtre Friche la Belle de Mai in Marseille. In parallel to his directing and writing carrier he acted in diverse theater and movie productions in Syria, France, Canada and the US. He currently lives in Marseille, France.
Saad Al Ghefari, was born in Damascus, Syria in 1981. Before training as an actor at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus he was an active figure in Syrian artistic and theatrical circles. He has appeared in numerous tv series (e.g. Halawet Elrouh and Bab al-Hara), in films (e.g. 7 km da Gerusalemme) and several stage plays (e.g. One Thousand and One Nights). Some years ago he left Syria and settled in Austria. Here he makes regular appearances in short films and stage plays and has also established a second career as a stand-up comedian.
Mustafa Kur was born in Latakia, Syria, in 1989 and trained as an actor at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus before performing in numerous plays at different theaters in Damascus including Out of Control, Hysteria (directed by Jihad Saad) and Trip Play (at the Alkabani Theater in Damascus). Mustafa Kur also appeared in While I was Waiting by Omar Abusaada, which received its world premiere in 2016 in Brussels and has since been presented in countries all around the world. In addition to his theater work he has also acted in several films including Four o’Clock in Paradise (director: Mohamad Abdul Aziz), The Day I lost my Shadow (director: Soudade Kaadan) and Insyriated (director: Philippe van Leeuw), that was screened at the 2017 Berlinale and numerous cinemas across Europe.
Saleh Katbeh, born in 1990 in Damascus, is an oud player, composer and music theorist. Before he studied classical music theory at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus he learned oud and Arabic maqams at the Solhi Al-Wadi Institute. After his degree in 2014 he moved to Germany to finish his Music Theory Master studies at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar.
As a composer he writes solo-, chamber- and orchestra compositions in the traditional Arabic style. His compositions were also played by the Ramal Ensemble in Germany and by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music in Damascus.