Since 2012, Orient Productions has been organising the annual Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), the largest international, multidisciplinary arts festival in Egypt. The festival brings together artists and practitioners from all around the world to showcase and discuss contemporary work. Throughout the years, our programme has included performing arts, new media and visual arts, music, film, street performances, workshops, and panel discussions.
Programmatically, we aim to show innovative work of quality, providing Cairo’s audiences with a fresh perspective on what the arts can look like. This reflects on both the form and content of what we present. Our programme aims to challenge the traditional relationship between audience and performer; break apart boundaries set between disciplines; and offer new ways of thinking about the world we live in today.
One of our main aims is to highlight Downtown Cairo as an important social and cultural centre. Through our partnership with Al Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment, we are able to use a myriad of spaces, beyond theatres, for our events. We are incredibly lucky to have been the first ones to re-open historical buildings that had been left abandoned such as Radio Cinema, the old French consulate, Viennoise, and the Kodak Passageway shops. Using unconventional spaces is at the core of D-CAF’s identity, weaving Downtown Cairo’s rich visual culture and complex history into the festival’s experience.
We believe that access to the arts is a vital component of a healthy social fabric, and should be a right for everyone to enjoy. Therefore, several of our programmes aim to expand our audience reach, providing access to our shows to those who would not be able to attend otherwise. Until 2018, our Urban Visions programme brought contemporary dance, clown performances, and puppetry to Downtown Cairo’s pedestrian streets, attracting passersby from all walks of life. And since 2017, the Arts for All initiative has invited NGOs to bring marginalised communities to D-CAF’s performances and events, diversifying our attendees.
On the other hand, we aim to provide Egyptian artists with opportunities to work with their international contemporaries. Several of the shows that we programme require local participation, where actors or dancers are cast to perform with world renowned directors. We are proud that such encounters were a seed for some brilliant Egyptian artists’ international careers to take off. Additionally, this process localises the shows, enabling our audiences to relate to them on a different level.
We take pride in having produced and programmed the festival consistently since 2012, bringing an unparalleled experience to our audiences. We strive for D-CAF to create a multitude of exchanges between local audiences, artists, and international professionals, expanding and amplifying the local arts and culture scene as a whole. We invite you to join us on our journey onwards as audience members, partners, and artists. See you at the festival!