International Programme Advisory Committee
A playwright and cultural activist, who works as a trainer in topics related to the field of culture with many organizations. He has taken part in many projects focusing on writing, particularly for theatre, organized by both Syrian and international organizations, and co-organized “Miniatures: A Month for Syria”, in collaboration with Shams Association in April 2013, and “Agora: Platform for Theatre Labs”, in collaboration with Hananne Hajj Ali in January 2014, both of which took place in Beirut.
A regular participant at conferences and forums on culture and art. He has also collaborated with art organizations such as Lift- The UK, the Lark- USA and the Royal Court- The UK.
He has published and directed several plays, including "Mrs Ghada’s Pain Threshold" in Beirut, and was a member of the selection committee for "Arab Contemporary Dramaturgy" (organized by IEVP 2012) where he was entrusted with selecting nine Arabic texts to be published in French. He was also part of the project "An Enemy of the People and Pillars of Society: the Tragedy of the Individual", produced by the Ibsen Conference in 2014 in Norway, in collaboration with Zoukak Theatre Company.
Abdullah was awarded first place in the 19th Mohammad Teymour Competition for Theatrical Creativity for his text “Damascus - Aleppo”, which was also shortlisted as a finalist in the BBC Competition for Best Translated Work in 2008. He is a founding member and Executive Manager of Ettijahat- Independent Culture. Abdullah graduated in Theatrical Studies from the High Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, 2004 and completed his Master’s study at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, in the same field in 2015. He is currently a PhD Student at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon.
Olu Alake is Director of UK-based cultural consultancy, November Ventures. He has developed and delivered cultural policy plans and programmes, arts and heritage initiatives, and undertaken programme and project reviews for clients across Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. He has held senior management positions in the UK’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Commission for Racial Equality and Arts Council England.
Olu has also written and delivered various contributions on diversity, cultural identity and cultural policy for publications across several countries, and has sat on various steering groups, advisory boards and strategic forums.
After more than a decade leading numerous cultural projects, establishing 10 public arts funding programmes and creating strategies for the cultural and creative sectors within the public sector in Malta, Toni embarked on his own project to set up Culture Venture - an arts advisory and management firm. He was the first Director of Strategy at Arts Council Malta and was responsible for the leadership of the strategy team that created and developed the Council's 5 year strategy. He served as advisor to the Ministry of Finance to co-author the creative economy strategy and was one of the authors of Malta’s national cultural policy. Toni is a regular speaker at international conferences and a visiting lecturer in arts management at the University of Malta. He graduated from the University of Malta in Communications and Theatre Studies. As a Chevening scholar he completed his postgraduate studies in cultural management and policy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Toni is a founding member of Opening Doors, an NGO for the artistic development of adults with learning disabilities. He is also a theatre director and served as Festival Director of ZiguZajg international festival for children and young people for four editions until 2015.