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We are an ensemble of International and Lebanese artists who create free, site specific, theatrical performances across Lebanon.


Our performance in Aley was staged with the backdrop of old ruins near the town's local library, sharing a building with the town's black belt academy. It was a very picturesque environment with some of the young children in traditional Druze garb (white scarfs/hats). Overall it was a very intriguing mix of traditional and modern, domestic and foreign: Some of the the children we spoke to while giving out stickers were actually from Indiana, USA!

This show took an increasingly interactive turn for this staging, with more children being pulled in for slightly longer periods than before and also several children being called up together rather than individually...even Denise was selected to make a stage appearance (see photos). Improv was rife and real; we had refurbished Tanbouri's 'new' pair of shoes (originally simply spray painted gold) with gold glitter and chose not to tell the actor who plays Tanbouri prior to the show, effectively revealing them for the first time during the performance.

In all, our trip to Aley was memorable for its eclectic audience, beautiful natural setting and the various expansions within the plays themselves.


Our third run of 'What Is the Color of the Sea?' and 'The Slippers of Tambouri' was held in the mountain town of Kobayat. This was a unique performance with regard to the 'street theatre' nature of Books in Motion as we did not actually perform on the street, but rather in the local school courtyard. This made for a much more organized viewing, where children and parents filled their reserved rows with ease.

And although not as 'interactive' in terms of interacting directly with local inhabitants who happen to pass by or attend the play, the interaction with the children in the audience was slightly enhanced as the sound quality was improved and the actors could move more freely and thus improvise and draw out scenes a bit further.


For our second Books in Motion performance we traveled to the very southern part of Lebanon and set up camp in Bint Jbeil.

Once a thriving town, it has now been reduced to 10% of its former infrastructure; a result of the war with Israel in 2006. We were able to speak with some residents who had grown up in the city and recently undertook the complete reconstruction of their childhood homes. Most of the buildings now standing in the area have been completely rebuilt or renovated (slightly giving the impression of a development in silicon valley where a weird assortment of architectural styles live in imposed harmony).

Regardless, the cultural heritage of the place remains intact. One cannot help but hear the whispers of antiquity resounding in the beautiful countryside!

The audience of children was much calmer than that at our opening weekend, a reflection of the generally more somber way of life there vis a vis Tyre or Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. Nevertheless, the audience (again composed of both adults as well as children) was equally as excitable as that in Tyre and appeared to be thoroughly amused by our production. It certainly warmed the heart to bring new life and love to a place sure to be steeped in hard times for some time to come


The opening performance of Books in Motion began at 7 pm, Saturday, July 11 in Tyre (also known as 'Sour' in Arabic). Tyre is a beautiful seaside town known for its charming port and old city.

After setting up on the corniche (seaside boardwalk), the actors gave an enthusiastic performance and the children were ecstatic...The actors were literally overwhelmed with small people eager to be ever closer to the action, so we set up a little makeshift barrier of rope. The children's pleasure was unabated by the enforced distancing and the show went on as smoothly as ever. And the children weren't the only ones enjoying the performance: their parents and even adult passersby were quite intrigued and most stayed for the duration of the two shows.

Saturday night, after our very first show, producer Denise Maroney arranged for the cast and crew to dine at an intimate seaside restaurant, Cafe Fanar, specializing in fresh fish and excellent music. It was a wonderful celebration of all the hard work put into the production going back to February 2009. It doesn't get any better than bringing people together through art, making them smile, dining on delectable food, and dancing to the beats of a very talented DJ...after which we were able to cool off in the welcoming waves of the mediterranean under a breathtaking night sky.....a lovely opening weekend in all!


Traveling Theatre Festival Brings Lebanese Literature to the Public Through Free Street Performances

Street theatre initiative Books in Motion will tour Lebanon this summer performing for in outdoor spaces, bringing an innovative and enriching & cultural experience that is widely accessible.

Beirut, Lebanon (Books in Motion) July 3, 2009 -- On July 11th an early evening theatre performance at the Gemmal Corniche in Tyre will launch Books in Motion, an exciting and avant-garde initiative exploring Lebanese literature through free street performance. “The principal mission is to create free, street theatre in order to explore Lebanese literature,” said Denise Maroney, producer of Books in Motion. Two extraordinary works of youth literature by Lebanese authors were selected by the dynamic creative team behind Books in Motion, adapted into plays in Arabic and will now come to life on stage.

What is the Color of the Sea by Nadine Touma and The Slippers of Tanbouri by Fatima Charafeddine will be performed across Lebanon, directed by the critically acclaimed Lucien Bourjeilly.† The Books in Motion company of actors are mostly university students and under Bourjeilly’s direction will explore methods of improvisation and circus techniques to create playful and interactive theatre. Beginning in Tyre, this traveling theatre festival will tour the country, performing these remarkable plays free of charge in outdoor and public venues. Books in Motion will move across Bint Jbeil, Kobayet, Aley, Aimoun and Hermel, before ending the tour with performances on Beirut’s Corniche Al-Manara on the 23rd of August. While Lebanon has no shortage of artistic festivals and initiatives, rarely are these cultural events equally accessible to the entire population.

“Often these events require tickets and tickets are expensive. The reality is that performance then becomes accessible only to a small group of people,” Maroney explained. By contrast, Books in Motion renders quality theatre accessible to a much wider stratum of the Lebanese population, allowing the general public to partake in this enriching experience. This first of its kind traveling theatre festival is collaboration between the UNESCO World Book Capital City Festival, La Maison du Livre in partnership with the NYC Children’s Theatre Company and the generous support of the Theatre Communications Group. †

About Books in Motion:
During the summer of 2008 Denise Maroney became interested in the idea of creating a theatre festival open to the general public in Lebanon, free of charge. After mentioning this to friends and colleagues one evening, the group’s dynamic discussion produced the initial concept of Books in Motion.

Maroney received a grant from the Theatre Communications Group in New York to work on a theatre project in Beirut, and used the opportunity to collaborate with Lebanese artists and create Books in Motion; a festival truly for the public. Maroney and Yasmina Jraissati, Literary Director of Books in Motion, read every book written by Lebanese authors in the Centre National de la Literature pour la Jeunesse in Paris, before selecting what they felt were the most appropriate works for the project.

Cast: Rauf Khelifa, Anas Al Saleh, Sarah Berjawi, Lama Dawood, Jessy Daou and Mohammad Hamzi
Production Design: Yasmine Agha, Nicolas Khattar, Ahmad Mahfouz, Laura Pharaon
Stage Manager: Ingrid Tautal
Production Management: Alexandra Schneider, Roy Baladi
Assistant Producer: Aline Sara
Logo Design: Edwin Baladi

Tyre: 11/7/09, 12/7/09 at 7 PM on the Gemmel Corniche of the Old City
Bint Jbeil:18/7/09, 6:30 PM on Main Street Sidewalk
Kobayet: 25/7/09, 6:30 PM in Local Courtyard
Aley: 30/7/09, 31/7/09 at 7 PM, in the ruins of an old Lebanese home near the public library
Amioun: 7/8/09, 7 PM, in a courtyard in the center of the old city
Jezzine: 8/8/09, 7 pm, Main street in front of the municipality
Hermel: 15/8/09, 7 PM, Courtyard and fountain of the local Serail
Downtown Beirut: 16/08/09, 7 pm Place d'Etoile, in front of the clocktower
Becharre: 29/8/09, 7pm , public street , site of local festival
Beirut: 23/8/09, 7 PM, Corniche Al Manara