Inspired by attending Ariane Mnouchkine’s workshop on improvisation at Théâtre du Soleil in 2009, STAR TOO group founders returned to the Emirates a year later, determined to create a base for laboratory-style theatre, enabling original, highly stylized performance art to blossom.
Since 2010, chiefly physical and minimalistic STAR TOO creations (counting 8 original pieces and over 20 events) are the outcome of collaborative, devised theatre, at times akin to installation art.
To transform the environment, performers use only customized sticks called Artisticks, plain cloth named Its, and a parachute turned into a chorographic tool. Multimedia and video art is also prominent. A giant cloth box called the White Majlis is used to surround an audience, immersing spectators in the action.
Throughout the creative process, respect of others and the playing space is intensely observed. Shows emerge from dynamic training periods, group brainstorming on a theme-question, often composing non-linear narratives that involve every group member equally in the story telling. Creations’ titles are questions, reflecting open-endedness and pluralism.
Commissioned by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority for Sikka 2013, core members, who make up the multi-national troupe, work tirelessly together to make a significant impact on the region’s cultural landscape. Bridging the gaps between the arts, STAR TOO invites locally based artists to lecture with the group, such as authors, architects, singers, dancers, aerialists, and magicians.
Sourcing knowledge and inspiration from a wide variety of disciplines that are practiced in the community aims to demonstrate that, rather than systematic outsourcing, a cultural identity is achieved by fostering grassroots initiatives. What matters most for the arts collective is to learn from practices and theories that have contributed to a change for the better, whether that is socio-political progress or inter-cultural awareness.