The Department of Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University (LAU) offered an interdisciplinary space for avant-garde, experimental performances and communicative arts through its third annual Festival Next.
Ongoing at the LAU Beirut campus until March 22, the festival falls under the patronage of LAU President Joseph Jabbra and in collaboration with the Arab Institute for Women and the Alumni Relations Office. The festival celebrates the arts annually through a series of concerts, screenings, performances, workshops, and lectures.
“This festival is a chance to build a bridge between different artists from different fields in order to celebrate art itself,” said Awad Awad, the coordinator of Festival Next. Awad and Amr Selim also co-directed a play, “Tawlifet Nidal,” performed by Bernadette Hodeib on the March 19 launch of Festival Next.
The opening night honored Nidal Al Achkar, a “Grand Dame of theater” through a screening of Sabine El Chamaa and Lina Abyad’s “A Workshop and Five Tales with Nidal Al Achkar” and paid tribute to the Rahbani Brothers through a concert by Joseph Khalifeh.
The following day of the festival incorporated Jazz Quintet by Raffi Mandalian, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and a musical performance by Seba Ali, Brianna Matzke, Sarah Fadel, and Christel Farah.
By publicly encompassing different communicative arts, the festival connects LAU professors and students with other schools and universities in the same field.
“From our curricula and facilities to our productions and research, we are dedicated to perpetual reinvention, innovation, and integration of our arts and sciences and our disciplines. And among our inventions is this very important festival, ” said Dr. Jad Melki, Chair of the Communication Arts Department at LAU.
Festival Next will close with a tribute to Maya Mikdashi, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and alumnus from LAU’s Department of Communication Arts. Mikdashi is set to receive the university’s Alumni Award for being a pioneer in communication arts. Other events taking place on the final day include stand-up comedy by Shaden Fakih, a play by Patricia Nammour, and a concert by Arnabeat Band.