Culture and Arts: Kassem Istanbouli Brings Cinema Back to Beirut

Le Colisée Cinema in Beirut

After the experience of rehabilitating and opening the closed cinemas in the south and north of Lebanon and turning them into independent and free cultural spaces, the Tiro Association for Arts and the Istanbouli Theater began rehabilitating the Le Colisée Cinema in Beirut, with the aim of transforming it into the Lebanese National Theater in Beirut, to be an independent free cultural space for people, in which training workshops, festivals, and artistic performances are organized, as well as the establishment of a public library and an artistic cafeteria.

The founder of the Lebanese National Theater, actor and director Kassem Istanbouli, confirmed that “the goal of the project is to establish a link between the south, the north, and Beirut, as it is a complement to our dream, which began with the establishment of the Lebanese National Theater in Tyre seven years ago, which is the first free theater and cinema in Lebanon. Thanks to the efforts of young volunteers, we will achieve our dream that art is a right for all, break the virtual wall between the Lebanese regions through the arts, and link them together through cultural spaces. We are happy to live this dream in Beirut, which is considered the second-most cinematic city in the history of Lebanon. About 29 halls were located in Al-Burj Square and 16 halls in the Hamra area. That’s where many theaters were founded and witnessed by the most important playwrights in Lebanon and the world.

Moreover, the Tiro Association for Arts (TAA), which is led by youth and volunteers, aims to establish free and independent cultural forums in Lebanon. That is, by renovating Al Hamra and Stars Cinema in Nabatieh and Rivoli Cinema in Tyre, which became the Lebanese National Theater, the first free theater and cinema in Lebanon, as well as Empire Cinema in Tripoli, which became the Lebanese National Theater in that city. TAA also implements artistic training workshops for children and youth; opens and renovates cultural forums; and organizes festivals, activities, and artistic exhibitions. In addition to this, the association screens artistic and educational movies for children and youth and works on maintaining partnerships with international festivals, as well as granting young directors the opportunity to screen their movies and letting people get acquainted with the history of cinema and local and international performances, as well as screening films for the blind and deaf and training workshops for people with special needs. The Lebanese International Theater Festival, the Watch Lebanon in Mobile Cinema Festival, the Tripoli International Theater Festival, the Tyre International Music Festival, the Lebanese International Theater Festival for Storytelling, the Tyre International Fine Arts Festival, the Tyre Cultural Days Festival, the Lebanese International Theater Festival for Women’s Monodrama, the Lebanese International Theater Festival for Contemporary Dance, the Tiro International Arts Festival, and the Tyre International Theater Festival are among the festivals that TAA implements.

Leave a Reply