El Akl Festival - Belfast & Menya

Created by Tom Finlay and Beshoy Makram, the El Akl Festival was created by emerging community artists from Belfast and Menya.  Supported by Tandem Shaml andTerra Nova, Tom Finlay took part in eight week long week-long residencies including Lebanon in September 2015, Berlin in January 2016, Amman in September 2016 and Marseille in December 2016, Berlin in March 2017 and Odessa in 2017.  Tom and Beshoy were supported to work on four visits to each other's cities, engaging local artists in both places to create live and filmed work.  Two young professional artists from Belfast and Menya were also mentored by Tom and Beshoy to create their own food-themed play.

The pilot culmulated in a festival in Menya in July 2017. Over the course of the project, 102 emerging artists, 4 profession artists, 40 live and film performances.