In cooperation with the UAE Embassy in Vienna, prominent Emirati members of the Al Ain Theatre troupe have participated for the first time at the International Storytelling Festival, ISF, in Vienna, Austria.
The International Storytelling Festival has been held for more than 30 years and provides a unique opportunity for storytellers and unique performances from across the world. As the UAE is celebrating the 'Year of Tolerance', the story of tolerance was told through a special performance by award-winning Emirati actors, Yaser Al Neyadi and Ibrahim Ustadi, and directed by Jasem Alkharraz. The theatrical performance, titled, 'The origin of the Story: Al Tasamuhh' (tolerance in Arabic), was produced by the Chairman of the Al Ain Theatre, Sultan Al Neyadi.
Commending the performance, Folke Tegetthoff, Austrian Writer, Storyteller, and Founder of ISF Austria, said that the actors followed traditional story-telling techniques, preserving the heritage of the UAE, but also broke away from said traditions through this portrayal, marking a new era in the country's theatre scene. The theatre troupe worked very hard to bring together this theatre performance during the ISF, with the story's roots depicting a lot of meaning, making it of enormous importance, he added.
In his opening remarks, Hamad Ali Al Kaabi, UAE Ambassador to Austria, said that the play presents the synonyms of tolerance as coexistence, equality, and harmony between people which paves the way of love, peace, and happiness.
"The Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed was a man of the desert, with a simple dream to unite people and build a nation of peace and harmony. He taught us to be open to others and to learn from them, and he continually reminded us of the common humanity that we all share. Inviting Emirati creative talents to participate in International cultural events, such as the International Storytelling Festival in Vienna, contributes to building a better understanding of the UAE’s culture and promote Emirati values," he added.
In turn, Al Neyadi thanked Ambassador Al Kaabi for this unique opportunity to participate in the festival. "Al Ain Theatre appreciates the UAE Embassy Vienna’s invitation and delighted to present the special story of tolerance at International Stage," he noted.
"We are proud to represent the UAE and Al Ain Theatre at this event," said Yaser Al Neyadi, filmmaker, actor, TV presenter, and writer.
On the margins of their participation at the festival, the delegation and artists met with media production firms in Austria including ORF Wien, Austrian National Public Service Broadcasting Corporation; DOR Film, leading and largest film production company in Austria.
The delegation also visited the Burgtheater in Vienna, the Austrian National Theatre, and one of the most important stages in Europe, to foster further collaboration between the cultural institutions in both countries.
"We learned from these authorities that media or artistic excellence - despite the different fields - lies in the content and intellectuality, not just in visual glare," Ibrahim Ustadi, actor, TV and radio presenter, stated. He also thanked Al Kaabi for opening the doors to Emirati artists to participate in an internationally known festival.
The attendees included senior Austrian officials and members of the media.