Rawya the Alchemist

 Is a Lebanese performer, director, and facilitator. Her career trajectory has combined a classical training in theater with contemporary art and community engagement. Coming of age in the aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1992) she came to see the role of theater as a tool for social change insofar as it could disarm situations of conflict while continuing to address them. During her early career, she participated in major productions, working with leading theater and cinema directors in Lebanon, such as Roger Assaf, Nidal Al-Achkar, and Danielle Arbid. She also worked with numerous local artists on experimental theater projects and art performances. Later she worked for six years as a theater instructor at a local public school in Beirut, where she used her class as a safe space for the children to experiment, imagine and develop life skills. These experiences have allowed her to sharpen her methodological tools and develop a myriad of exercises that she uses in her work with both children and adults. Her interest in democratizing the tools of theater to better enable social change led her to work as a facilitator for numerous community theater workshops organized by local and international NGOs. She also co-founded the interactive theater group Kawalees, where she has been using interactive theater with different marginalized communities across Lebanon. Currently, she has begun to develop an interest in the concept and practice of play. She has also been actively developing this practice in her ongoing art projects, working with other artists, researchers, and technicians to convert their initiatives into an active playground of creativity.