A transcontinental region that spans a wide range of faiths, nations, and landscapes, the Middle East & North Africa’s unique geographical position has allowed it to historically serve as a space for the ceaseless migration and exchange of ideas. Serving as a major historical trade route between Europe and the East, the region’s local cultures have consistently engaged with belief systems and practices from across the globe. The result is a rich artistic, spiritual, and performative landscape.
When Founding Artistic Director Rubén Polendo was asked to build the theater program at NYU Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Theater Mitu became company-in-residence at the emerging NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center. Not only did this allow the company to shape a new generation of artists through a focus on a trans-global, interdisciplinary arts pedagogy, but it also gave an exciting entry point to begin in-depth research into the region’s unique artistic landscape. This manifested through a number of company-led research initiatives to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon, in addition to the UAE itself. Focusing on ideas of space, architecture, music, ritual and performance, the company’s research brought us into collaboration with some of the leading thinkers, makers, and artists of the region.
Throughout its time in the Middle East and North Africa, the company also premiered the first ever theatrical production produced and created in the UAE (CHAOS, 2011), created and developed productions in the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center (A Dream Play, 2012 and Hamlet/UR-Hamlet, 2015), toured its productions to Cairo and Lebanon, and conducted interviews across the region for its development of Remnant.
Dramaturgy of SpaceMusical and Aural PerformanceCultural MigrationsSpiritual and Socio-Cultural Traditions