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Liverpool Arab Arts Festival presents busy anniversary programme

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a packed programme of events and activities between now and July 16.

The annual 10-day festival this year explores themes of storytellers and storytelling through music, visual art, family events and workshops.

It takes place at venues including the Unity Theatre, Bluecoat, World Museum Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall and the Royal Court Studio. Storyhouse Chester is also involved.

The festival culminates in the free annual Family Day at Sefton Park Palm House on Sunday, July 16, featuring authentic Arab music – headlined by the Ayoub Sisters and Iraqi Maqamat led by Ahmed Muhktar, along with performances, craft, storytelling, food and drink.

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s Music Room is the venue for a performance from Somali-British singer Aar Maanta this evening, July 7, with support coming from rising star Nxdia.

Above: The Ayoub Sisters. Top: Fares Farraj.

Saturday, July 8 includes a Family Weekender afternoon at World Museum (free but ticketed) and an evening of stand-up - Arabs Are Not Funny – in the Royal Court Studio.

A screening of The Last Queen takes place at Storyhouse in Chester on Sunday, July 9 as part of the SAFAR Film Festival, while on Monday The Pod in the Baltic Triangle hosts a special screening of Arwa Aburawa and Turab Shah’s new LAAF commission And Still, It Remains.

The Unity will host three evenings of performances from July 11-13, kicking off with Passports, Mo Saleh, Jinn and Other Complicated Things on July 11.

Paris-based Egyptian actor and dancer Mahmoud El Haddad brings his autobiographical show Self-Entitlement to the Hope Place venue on July 12. He will also hold a Baladi dance workshop at Toxteth TV on July 13.

Meanwhile What the Dog Said to the Harvest, at the Unity on July 13, is presented in association with the Shubbak Festival.

Award-winning Syrian composer and musician Maya Youssef brings her new album Finding Home to the Philharmonic’s Music Room on July 14.

Above: Ahmed Muhktar

Then on July 15 the festival moves to the Bluecoat for an afternoon of storytelling and workshops with Fares Farraj and Ahmed Muhktar, while Mona Kareem and Nashwa Nasreldin present I Will Not Fold These Maps at LUSH Liverpool, and Bootle Library hosts a free launch event for Our Dreams of Jasmine, a book of love poems chosen by women with experience of migration.

Founded in 1998, LAAF is the UK’s longest running annual celebration of Arab arts and culture, platforming the best UK and international Arab artists and showcasing both traditional and contemporary artforms.

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival runs until July 16. Full programme details and tickets HERE

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