- Title: MOROCCO: Spanish artists perform in Morocco to strengthen cultural ties
- Date: 25th January 2010
- Summary: CINEMA SCREEN PUPPET PLAYING PIANO SCENES FROM JAPANESE ACROBATIC SHOW BEING PROJECTED ON STAGE BACKDROP MUSICIAN ON STAGE MORE OF JAPANESE ACROBATIC SHOW CHILDREN WITH THEIR PARENTS WATCHING END OF JAPANESE ACROBATIC SHOW
- Embargoed: 9th February 2010 12:00
- Location: Morocco
- Country: Morocco
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVACH5AY2JPN3CLUJF7SQK8WVY40
- Story Text: For nine consecutive days, different Moroccan cities will be hosting about 23 shows performed by 150 artists from both Spain in Morocco.
Theatre, dancing, cinema, circus, music and opera will be performed in various venues for spectators including young people with special needs, professionals and a discerning public of art lovers.
The event is the third edition of the Festival of the Two Banks of the Mediterranean Sea, aimed at fostering a better understanding between Morocco and Spain.
Over the centuries, both countries have had a chequered history of peace and war. Even recently, the relationships between Rabat and Madrid knew some tense moments and they were on the verge of a war in 2002 when a handful of Moroccan soldiers landed on an island near the Moroccan cost in the Mediterranean Sea which Madrid says is Spanish land.
Between Morocco and Spain, it is a love and a hate relationship since Muslim general Tarik Ibn Ziyad invaded the Spanish peninsula in the year 711 and established an Islamic State in parts of the Iberian peninsula. The Arabs were driven from Spain in 1492. For its part, Spain occupied parts of North Morocco and the Western Sahara during the 20th century.
Despite the political upheavals, artists from both sides gathered at the festival to build bridges between the two countries that are separated by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar.
Luis Planas Puchades, the Spanish Ambassador to Morocco, believes strongly that art and culture could contribute to the rapprochement of the two nations.
"Art is an ingredient of life and to live is to understand the others. This is a reason why art and culture should be encouraged. Morocco is a great country when it comes to art and culture and I am aware to what extent Moroccans appreciates this kind of artistic event. I am glad that we could jointly organise all these events with Morocco, be it with the European Union or with Spain," he said.
The Mohammed V Theatre in the capital Rabat was filled with spectators on the opening night of the festival, during which they watched a dance performance by the internationally-acclaimed Spanish Eva Yerbabuena Ballet Flamenco Troupe.
The main moving force behind the festival is director Jose Monleon, who is also the chairman of the International Institute for Mediterranean Theatre (IIMT).
Monleon is a firm believer in fostering dialogue between people through art and culture.
"For centuries, planet Earth received messages about confrontation. For centuries, people heard that they are different from each other. We need to hear more frequently other messages such as you are not that far from the other because you have many mutual interests and you have to live together. This is the main objective because it tries to shed light on the culture of each country," Monleon said.
Out of the nine festival performances that will tour the country, six are from Spain, two are joint productions, and the only purely Moroccan production is called "A letter from Sarah."
Larbi El Harti, deputy director of the event, said the festival, which also includes children's theatrical events, is short on Moroccan productions because many of them failed to meet the festival's exacting standards. He hopes the festival will inspire Moroccan artists to be more creative.
He added: "When we call this festival the Two Banks Festival, it is because it contains works from both Morocco and Spain. Among the objectives of this festival is to make both sides aware of the diversity of the Moroccan and Spanish cultures and at the same time let the people from each country know the truth about the other one."
One of the highlights of the festival will be the opera "Carmen," to be performed by the Opera Andalusia.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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