Through an online ceremony organized by the League of Professional Theatre Women, the renowned Lebanese playwright, director, artivist and actress Hanane Hajj Ali received, this Tuesday, the prestigious Gilder / Coigney award, a prize that rewards the talent of professional women in theatre.
The success of a play about the unspoken in today’s society
It is thanks to her event play, Jogging, that Hanane Hajj Ali, a famous artist of Lebanese origin, has travelled around the world and managed to build a reputation in the world of entertainment. Thus, through a play, alone on stage and expressing herself in Arabic, she tells the stories of all the Medea of the 21st century, (little girl of the sun god Helios killing her children) and courageously affirms the unspoken that surrounds the rights of women in Eastern society.
A multi-faceted playwright
Beginning her career a few decades ago, Hanane Hajj Ali has not only directed and acted in Arabic productions, but has also facilitated and assisted hundreds of colleagues, students and various communities in Lebanon, the Middle East and North Africa. While the actress took her first steps on the stage as the creator of the Hakawati theatre group in 1978, she co-founded the Shams association in 1999, which builds bridges between different parts of Lebanese society and brings together young actors from different backgrounds.
An artivist and activist, Hanane Hajj Ali has collaborated with many non-governmental organisations and has set up, with various allies, three of the most important cultural organisations: al-Mawred Culture Resource, Ettijahat and Action for Hope.
A work acclaimed by the international entertainment world
Humbled, she was surprised when she was nominated for the famous award: “When I saw the personalities nominated for the award, I said to myself that if I make the final selection, it’s already a lot.”
The aim of the award, created in 2011 by the League of Professional Theatre Women, is to highlight the talent of professional women in the theatre. Candidates are therefore evaluated according to different criteria ranging from artistic excellence to the exploration of new forms of theatrical expression. For the winner, “this kind of award offers a great visibility to the work provided in the cultural field in Lebanon“.
“Perfectly fluent in English, French and Arabic, Hanane Hajj Ali is a woman who defies conventions, stereotypes and expectations. She is in a position to be the ambassador representing the breath and depth of the identities and realities of Arab women and theatre in the Arab world” the league said in its statement.
This will give a new boost to the young laureate who is determined to change the current situation and impose fair and equitable cultural policies.