about STiftelsen studio Emad eddin
Studio Emad Eddin Foundation (SEE Foundation) / Stiftelsen Studio Emad Eddin was founded in 2005 to support and develop Cairo’s performing artists as a nonprofit foundation. The foundation’s first project was Studio Emad Eddin (SEE), a workshops and rehearsal space. Since its inception, SSEE has expanded its activities to include a wide range of projects across the Arab world, each representing a step further into the developmental cycle of individuals and institutions operating within the performing arts. The foundation presents us with a unique string of complimentary endeavours, enabling the independent and alternative scene to become more inclusive and sustainable.
Studio Emad Eddin Foundation is a home for performing artists, especially independent artists. It offers them a meeting point and serves as a window on the art and culture of Egypt and the world, as well as services and programs designed to support and develop the performing arts in the Arab world.
Our mission is to provide a network of spaces, capacity building, and festivals which contribute to the development and sustainability of the individuals and institutions within the independent and alternative arts sector in Egypt and the Arab world. Thus expanding their artistic practice, and establishing continuity in developing, creating, and connecting with artists and organizations across the world.
The Stiftelsen Studio Emad Eddin Foundation (SSEE) believes that a healthy and just society requires ease of, and space for expression. In both figurative and literal ways. The non-profit foundation’s activities are anchored in the performing arts field, focusing on developing and strengthening its independent artists and institutions in Egypt and the Arab world. Since its inception, the foundation has expanded its reach to several corners of the creative sector, upholding its mission through two main avenues: facilitating space and exposure.
After organizing a successful series of workshops early in his career, the theatre director and playwright Ahmed El Attar decided that the time has come to set up a legal entity for his operations. He also couldn’t find space or necessary resources to rehearse or realize his productions. Thus, Stiftelsen Studio Emad Eddin was born, and its eponymous studio quickly became an integral part of the independent arts scene. One-off capacity building workshops and extensive year long training programs are taught by local and international instructors to Cairo’s budding artists. The latter group also have the opportunity to rehearse their own ideas and productions in a fully-equipped space.
The natural step following the studio’s opening was for the foundation to support 2B Continued (2BC), a performing arts festival and laboratory developed out of the studio. 2BC selects and produces dance and theatre performances, and mentors their light designers, scenographers, and directors. Several of 2BC’s past participants have become the festival’s mentors today; a testament to the festival, and the foundation’s impact on contributing to the success and development of the sector.
The sector’s growth demanded a space that caters to artists beyond rehearsals, a space to showcase their unique artistry: a theatre. The foundation had previously supported the operations of one of Cairo’s local theatres, and today it has had the opportunity to support the renovation and re-launch of Rawabet Art Space, a pillar of Cairo’s independent arts scene. Thus, SSEE upholds its mission by fostering the complete creative process of a performer, from building their skills and ideas in the studio, to the final production on stage.
As SSEE’s progress follows an organic route, an additional opportunity presented itself. The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), an annual exhibit of international performances spanning across theatre, dance, music, film, new media arts, and visual arts. Since the foundation believes in comprehensive, multidirectional development, it was necessary to provide an outlet for Cairo’s artists as well as its audience to learn and grow, beyond direct capacity building. This yearly festival has become a cornerstone of the independent arts scene, creating links between Cairo’s audience and its performers to a global network; creating job opportunities for local technicians, artists, and cultural operators; and exposing the local audience to a diverse range of cultural events.
However, a unilateral exchange wasn’t enough for the foundation; bringing foreign artists to Cairo was only one part of the formula. The Arab Arts Focus (AAF) was initiated as a showcase to bring Arab performances to a global audience, marketing its shows to festivals and cultural managers across the world and creating a mutual dialogue. This has added another piece to SSEE’s complex web, providing Arab artists with international touring and residency opportunities.
Finally, the latest chapter of SSEE’s journey is Maktabi - Creative Office Spaces, enabling creatives to take their career a step further by offering fully furnished private offices for long-term rental. This project is the first step for the foundation to delve into the creative industry beyond strictly performing arts. The theatre, as a participatory discipline, is SSEE’s launchpad, teaching it to reach beyond its own limits and to collaborate with others. Thus, Maktabi is a space to bring the different corners of the creative industry together.