Amir Nizar Zuabi is considered by his peers and theatre critics to be one of the leading theatre directors in the Middle East. After graduating with honors from Israel’s prestigious Nissan Native Acting Studio, and attending workshops in France and Russia, Zuabi first cut his teeth directing “Stories Under Occupation” for Al Kasabah theatre in Ramallah. (Best Production – Cairo Theatre festival and Cartage festival). The show toured extensively, to wide acclaim, at the Royal Court London, Tokyo International Arts Festival, Goteborg Festival, among other destinations. Other directing work includes: “When the World Was Green” by Sam Sheppard at the Young Vic. “In pergone con Wittgenstein” by Mariano Apria at the Teatro Collosseo. In 2005, Zuabi staged “Jidariyya”, at the Palestinian National Theatre, a play based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish. The show toured extensively in Damascus, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain and was invited by Peter Brook’s “Bouffes du Nord” Theater in Paris. Jidariyya also performed as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Zuabi was an associate director at the “Al-Midan” Theatre in Haifa, where he has directed “Forget Herostratus” by L. Gorin, and “An Autumn Tale” by Aldo Nicolai. In April 2009 Zuabi premiered Sean-Sean’s Opera “Samson and Delilah” at the Vlamesse Opera house in Antwerp. In 2008 Zuabi founded ShiberHur Theater Company and has produced 6 shows with this new company, “Old Box” War or More” and The Sneeze”” based on shorts by Chekhov, all toured extensively in the 48 lands and the occupied territories. In 2010 ShiberHur’s “I am Yusel and This is My Brother” was preformed to great critical acclaim in the Young Vic Theater, London. Zuabi created The Penal Colony his adaptation to Kafka’s Dark tale in 201. After the success of both shows Zuabi became and International Associate Director of the Young Vic. In 2012, Zuabi directed Comedy of Errors for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He wrote and directed The Beloved for the Bush Theater in London in a co-production with the KVS Brussels. Zuabi created Oh My Sweet Land for theater Vidy Lausanne that was also recreated in the young Vic in 2014. In 2015 Zuabi created a musical for children based on the Empty Pot with maverick composer Faraj Suleiman. They also created Dry Mud a musical journey into a night in the middle east, as well as West of the Sea. They are currently creating another musical Dance Theater peace in collaboration with choreographer Samar King Hadad. Zuabi was asked to become a member of the Prestigious UTE (United theaters of Europe ) in 2013 and is currently writing a play commission by them as well as developing a play for the National Theater in London.
Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France and the Arab world, educated in the United States and United Kingdom, and has moved between cities in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and the United States most of her life. Poet, playwright and literary travel writer, her recent books include the flash collection The Republics, lauded as “one of the most inventive books by one of today’s most diverse writers,” and winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing and the Arab American Book Award; the bestselling bilingual collection La estrella invisible / The Invisible Star; the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Handal is the editor of the groundbreaking classic The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, and named one of the top 10 Feminist Books by The Guardian; and co-editor of the W.W. Norton landmark anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, both Academy of American Poets bestsellers. She has worked on over twenty theatrical productions either as a playwright, director or producer. Author of eight plays, her most recent works have been produced at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bush Theatre and Westminster Abbey in London. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, on PBS and NPR, among others. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, Centro Andaluz de las Letras Fellow, Fondazione di Venezia Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. Based in New York City, Paris and Rome, she is a professor at Columbia University and part of the Low-Residency MFA Faculty at Sierra Nevada College; she is currently teaching "Asian and Arab Diaspora in Literature and Film" at NYU Tisch. She writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders.
Handal writes the blog-column, The City and The Writer, for Words without Borders magazine.