American University of Beirut

Workshops/ Masterclasses

​​​​​​The Theater Initiative offers intensive workshops and masterclasses led by world-class theater experts, thus presenting the opportunity to train in their methods. The workshops/ masterclasses are made available to the general public, students and non-students alike. The following is a selection of classes that have been offered in the past.

Moment Work: From Text-Based Theater to an Egalitarian Theatrical Language with Philipe Abi Youness​

February 2019


Tectonic Theater Project's Philipe Abi Youness was invited to give a workshop on “Moment Work" at AUB. A process unique to Tectonic, Moment Work taps into the full expressive potential of stage elements such as props, costumes, and lighting. It pays equal attention to the textual and paratextual aspects of a performance. Sahar Assaf's No Demand No Supply, about the real-life sex trafficking of refugees in Lebanon, was developed using Moment Work. Participants arrived at the performance by creating a series of “Moments" with the various theater elements. The workshop was an extension to the lecture, “Making Theater and Changing Society," delivered by Abi Youness, and sponsored by the Theater Initiative and the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR). ​​​

Adapting Greek Dramas to Contemporary Audiences with Roger Assaf

March 2017​

Theater giant, Roger Assaf, directed a masterclass on acting and Greek drama that was designed around a performance project about the Trojan War. Assaf's project drew from Euripides's Iphigenia at Aulis and The Trojan Women, and Aeschylus's Agamemnon to relate the story of the ten-year war between Greece and Troy. The masterclass culminated in the play, The Trojan War (Harb Torwada), that opened that same year at Douwar El Shams theater.

Shakespeare into Action: A Workshop by The Faction

November 2016​


Shakespeare into Action was led by The Faction's Artistic Director, Mark Leipacher, who explained the techniques that The Faction employ to unlock Shakespeare's texts, releasing his language into action. The workshop anticipated the Arabic-language debut of King Lear, co-directed by Theater Initiative's Sahar Assaf and The Faction's Rachel Valentine Smith, and allowed participants to become involved in the production process.

BoxWhatBox Workshop: An Actor Training and Original Creation Method Developed by Michael Devine

February 2016

The objectives of BoxWhatBox (BWB) training are to augment the actor's ability to identify habits, both psychic and physical, which impede their expressivity. Through instruction and targeted improvisational techniques devised by Dr. Michael Devine, actors develop and extend the range of what he calls the four expressive vocabularies: physical action, gesturals, verbals and non-verbals. Games, exercises and etudes are devised to refine the actor's control of technique while giving range to their innate power and joy. AUB hosted a four-hour BWB workshop that was provided in three phases: Neutralisation, an exercise in rhythm and physical alignment; demechanisation, the identification of habits and attitudes that inhibit expression; and targeted improvisation, the impromptu production of original performance material.​

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