The 8th Hakaya Festival

The 8th Hakaya Festival – Sept 2015

HAKAYA is a Euro-Arab program connecting different organizations, individuals, and groups who share a commitment to reclaiming the centrality of stories in the healthy growth of individuals and societies. The HAKAYA project has been celebrating for several years the art of “telling” and “narrative” in theatre, the arts, reading and writing promotion, formation of identity, and inter-cultural dialogue. The vision that brings all the project partners together is a view of reading, writing, and narrative/telling as tools that develop an individual’s “inner world” and constitute the threads that weave the social and cultural fabric amongst people: tools that do not link the mind with the text, but the mind with life.


After an initial meeting in 2004, several organizations and individuals worked together to develop the basis for this new cooperation. Since then, joint cooperation continued between the different partners regardless of funding or meeting opportunities, to deepen the dialogue and root the work in what each party, in their own location, can do and achieve, and then the momentum that can be created by the group as a whole.

The co-motion and dialogue amongst everyone concerned provided the basis for a wide-arching vision for Hakaya project; a vision that developed through the recommendations of the various meetings and the on-the-ground experience in the past few years. Between August 2007 and February 2008 partial funding from the Anna Lindh Foundation allowed the HAKAYA project to launch several activities including a website, workshops, an apprenticeship, and the Hakaya festival at Al Balad theatre in Amman.

To mark the conclusion of this phase, the second Hakaya meeting was organized in cooperation with I-Act in Alexandria in February 2008. This meeting was attended by the Hakaya consultative committee (friends of Hakaya) in addition to several other stakeholders and interested individuals from around the Mediterranean, to evaluate the founding phase and plan together for the future. In 2008-2009 the Arab Education Forum and Al Balad theatre continued using their own means to maintain and expand Hakaya based on the road map prepared by the collective of partners. The website was constantly updated, and the Al Balad Theatre managed to organize the second Hakaya festival in 2009 with support from the Amman municipality.

In 2009 the AEF and its collective of partners were awarded a 3-year grant starting 1 January 2010 to continue developing and expanding the Hakaya program in partnership with Tamer Institute for Community Education (Palestine), ARCPA (Lebanon), Al Balad Theatre (Jordan), MS/Action Aid (Denmark) and El Warsha Theatre group (Egypt) in addition to several other partner organizations.

During this period the partnerships have been expanded to include, among others, Nadi al Hikaya in Sfax/ Tunisia, The storytelling festival in Bani Mallal in Morocco, the Arab Education Forum in Palestine, and others.

The program and network currently aim at strengthening the ties between individuals and groups concerned with reclaiming storytelling and stories as an integral part of our lives and a crucial component in art and learning.


Hakaya is a culmination of several years of cooperation and dialogue amongst various individuals and groups in the Arab world regarding the centrality of “stories” in individual development, and cultural growth. This project brings together artists, oral historians, story-tellers, and educators in a network, residencies, workshops, and an itinerant festival which will present “story-telling” in its various forms and show how it enriches the theatre, the arts, and is crucial to the development of literacy and the formation of identity and inter-cultural dialogue.

Concept of Hakaya Project:

The story is the main constituent of life, the human being, culture and society; it is the main component of thought, communication and dialogue. As for us Arabs, the story is one of our main tools for liberating the imagination, thought, perception and expression. This freedom is essential for our liberation on other levels.

Hakaya Festival:

Al-Balad Theatre and the Arab Education Forum were pleased to announce 6th Hakaya festivals since 2008, and will announce the 7th edition shortly to take place between 7-11 September in Amman and many other locations in Jordan. This year, the art of storytelling gains momentum as the Hakaya festival reflects the richness of people’s experiences in the region with performances, training workshops, experimental works, film programs and much more over the span of 5 days, to enhance the dialogue between different social categories through reading, writing & the art of storytelling.

Hakaya presented more than 190 performances over the past 7 years. An overall estimated audience of 20000 people attended the different activities in a diversity of venues in Amman & provinces that reaches out especially to the youth & children in underprivileged areas.

Hakaya has become an important part of the art & cultural scene in Jordan, spreading over 20 storytelling performances each year in public gardens, spaces, camps & theaters.


Hakaya performances:

  • Traditional storytelling performances for adults.
  • Traditional storytelling performances for children.
  • Storytelling performances through multimedia means.
  • Storytelling performances through music.
  • Storytelling performances through theater.
  • Experimental performances through coordinating collaborations between professionals & beginners.
  • Visual art exhibitions.
  • Workshops on different storytelling aspects for beginners & professionals.


Hakaya main target groups:

  •  Adults.
  •  Elder people.
  •  Teenagers.
  •  Children.
  •  Underprivileged communities.


Hakaya venue focus:

  • Schools, public spaces, Refugee camps, underprivileged domestic communities, art spaces, social spaces & theaters.


The 8th Hakaya Festival 2015 in numbers:

(53 performance, 3 workshops, 3 storytelling Symposium)


The festival gathered around 68 artists from 10 country ( Tunisia , Lebanon , Palestinian , Syria , Morocco , UK ,South Africa , Egypt , Algeria , Lebanon & Jordan) that turned into 53 performance, 3 workshops and 3 storytelling Symposium.


8560 people attended the 8th Hakaya Festival 2015, about 60% of the total audience were females, and 2720 children attended 9 performances for children.

 Locations of Hakaya 2015:

Festival activities were held in 23 different locations in Amman and around the whole kingdom.


Plan for year 2016:

Hakaya Festival along with its regional & international partners are planning to expand to more areas inside & outside Amman & proceed in promoting the art of storytelling: 45 – 60 Arab & international storytelling performances for adults & children.

A training residency program in partnership with the British Council in Amman for young storytellers from England, Jordan & Arab countries will also be held at the time of the festival.

Storytelling residency “Mujawara of stories” in Jordan is also listed on the plan in partnership with The Arab Education Forum. It will be a platform for emerging performing artists; an opportunity to bring theatre in its most basic and familiar form to remote areas in Jordan; a point of convergence for people from different specialties to interact and enrich each other’s work; an opportunity to exchange experiences amongst Arab artists; and, finally, a space for discussion and reflection on the role of stories/narratives in the development of performing arts as an essential tool for social change and community development.