Sundance Institute Launches its First Theatre Lab in the Middle East

U.S. Thesps Sandra Oh, Hoon Lee, and Deanna Dunagan tapped

Sundance Institute Launches Theatre Lab in
Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock

U.S. thesps Sandra Oh, Hoon Lee, Deanna Dunagan, their Syrian colleague Hala Omran, and Palestinian playwright Raeda Taha have been tapped as creative advisers participating in the Sundance Institute’s first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Theatre Lab, which will be held in Morocco next month.

The lab, which is part of the Sundance Institute’s commitment to support artists from the region, will provide fresh voices from the U.S. and MENA with what it calls “a rigorous artistic retreat and new opportunities for cross-cultural discovery, artistic reflection and creative experimentation,” it said in a statement.

Under the supervision of Sundance Institute Theatre Program, artistic director Philip Himberg, and producing director Christopher Hibma, and led by Middle East/North Africa manager Jumana Al-Yasiri, the institute’s annual Theatre Lab, which is normally held in Utah, will take place May 8-29 outside Marrakesh.

For over the past three decades, the lab has provided critical support and development to productions, including the two most recent Tony Award winners for best musical, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, who adapted “Fun Home.

This year’s participants are from Australia, Belgium, France, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Uganda, the U.K. and the U.S.

The Sundance Institute also operates the only screenwriters lab in the Middle East, in tandem with the Royal Film Commission in Jordan, which recently yielded Jordan’s first Oscar-nominated film, “Theeb” by Naji Abu Nowar.