Hanane Hajj Ali/

actress, theatre director

Hanane Hajj Ali


Hanane Hajj Ali is a leading cultural and artistic figure in Lebanon and the Arab world.  In addition to her work as an actress, playwright, writer and director since 1978, Hanane teaches theatre studies at Saint Joseph University. As a researcher, she has contributed to the editing and writing of numerous books, the most important of which are "Théâtre Beyrouth" and "Introduction aux politiques culturelles dans le monde arabe". Hanane is also founder and board member of several cultural organisations such as Culture Resource (Al Mawred Athaqafy), Action for Hope, and Ettijahate Independent Culture. In 2018 Hanane Hajj Ali was decorated Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, in 2017 she received the "Vertebra Prize for Best Actor" at the Festival OFF in Edinburgh for her theatrical performance JOGGING, and in 2020 she was awarded the Gilder / Coigney prize by "The League of Professional Theatre Women".

"My project consists of historical research and analytical and critical reflection on the works of the Hakawati Theatre (Lebanese Storytelling Theatre). It aims to shed light on an essential part of the memory of Lebanese theatre, with a view not only to preserving it and passing it on to future generations, but also to showing how this collective experience was able to create a veritable agora. This experience was born of strong political, social, economic and cultural frictions, and of an organic interaction between art and society at a critical period in Lebanon's history: the period of the civil war (1975-1990), which both opened up the abyss of demolition and devastation and inspired constructive artistic approaches. Documenting this experience would also highlight the similarities that exist between the Hakawati Theatre and certain important theatrical experiments that are part of an "unusual or rebellious" collective work (for example, Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop and the Théâtre de Soleil, the Storyteller's Theatre in Palestine, El Teatro Campesino, etc.). It is also interesting to study the relationship that the Hakawati Theatre could have with certain aspects of contemporary art, in particular "performance reading", in which the performer is sometimes described as a "post-modern storyteller". The project would culminate in a website entitled DRAMATHEQUE open to future theatrical documentation projects."