During their participation, they not only acted as lecturers but also as true mentors as they engaged in in-depth discussions with the participants. They allowed participants an honest and open insight into their careers, including both success stories and failures.

The mentors and speakers present during the Keynote/Webinar - How to Move a Festival Online were:

Guest Speakers:

  • Kate Craddock (GIFT Festival - United Kingdom)
  • Sepehr Sharifzadeh (NH Theater Agency - Iran)
  • Nima Dehghani (Reconnect Festival - Iran/United States of America)
  • Asif Majid (Scholar, artist and educator - United States of America


  • Angele Galea (Science in the City - Malta)
  • Nada Shemais (Cairotronica - Egypt)

Guest Speakers

Kate Craddock

Kate Craddock is Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre, an annual artist-led festival celebrating contemporary theatre. She is based in Newcastle, North-East England.

Kate has combined working across academic roles and creative projects since 2005. She completed her practice led PhD in 2010 with the title: ‘Collaboration in Performance Practice: Trust, Longevity and Challenging Proximity’. Kate has worked as a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and at Northumbria University, where she led on the industry focused MA Theatre and Performance programme. She recently became Research Associate at Newcastle University where she will undertake a research project exploring strategies for nurturing risk taking in audiences.

As a theatre maker, Kate has presented her performance work at a range of organizations across the UK and in multiple international festival contexts. Through GIFT, Kate presents a program of contemporary theatre and performance that otherwise would not have a platform in North East England. Kate works closely with partners including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Gateshead Council to deliver GIFT. Kate is a Trustee for ARC, Stockton Arts Centre and The Paper Birds Theatre Company. Kate was recipient of the Theatre Fellowship with the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme 2018/19 and undertook a secondment with HOME in Manchester.

Sepehr Sharifzadeh

Sepehr is a Tehran based independent producer, curator, and festival organizer, he was an alumni of the Atelier for Young Festival and Cultural Managers in Shanghai in 2017. He has studied M.A. of Puppetry at University of Tehran with his Thesis on "Standardization of Puppet Theater Festival based on PMBOK method" and has co-founded the first International Theater agency in Iran; aiming to facilitate the cultural exchange between Iran and the world through performance. He is working as a Festival organizer, an artistic adviser, a theatre curator and board member with several independent festivals in Iran. His main job is to introduce Iranian Performances to international festivals and help Iranian Festival to curate international programs. He is also doing festival organizing and advising. In 2018 He worked as the project coordinator of the "Welcome to Iran" festival in BOZAR and co-programmed "The first showcase of Iranian performing arts" during the Fadjr Theater Festival in Tehran at 2019. He recently co-founded the "Re-connect Online performance Festival" in light of Coronavirus global pandemic.

Nima Dehghani

"I am a transdisciplinary artist who employs various technologies to negotiate human experience towards a heightened awareness of estrangement and displacement. Born in Iran and practicing in the U.S., I have developed a unique and eclectic approach to working with people and technology that is influenced by a variety of cultural customs and codified by my personal experiences. I construct hypermediated and highly systematized social architectures through theater, film and participatory digital forums, encouraging players to search for evidence of the sensual, thereby constructing space for inter and intrapersonal connection. Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies is central to my research, where communication hacking, creative social justice divination, and implicit politics are requisites.

In my work, I amplify distance between people through mediated technologies, compelling my audience to seek association and perform in tandem with their community to collectively author their world. In doing so, the audience becomes a participant in the work and agent of change in their communities.

Experiential and highly collaborative, my process disavows loyalty to traditional methodologies of the disciplines within which I practice, weaving new networks of mechanization and inviting unfamiliar audiences to resurrect their relationship to curiosity and play among even the most sobering of topics.

Transnational migration is among one of the most complex global issues of our time and promises to expand its scope in the coming decades. “telepuppet.tv” is a crowd-sourced storytelling platform that combines augmented puppetry with online image sharing and IRL projection performance. “telepuppet.tv” employs the technologies, idioms, and aesthetics of TV News to interweave stories about the experience of immigration with orchestrated conversation and choreographed puppetry in public space.

As an architect of fragmented realities, my work destabilizes and then furnishes space for the byproducts of that destabilization. “Decompensation” is a five-channel virtual reality film that attempts to recreate the psychological stages which refugees pass through when moving and settling into a new socio-cultural context over the span of many years: Early Arrival, Destabilization, Exploration, Return to Normal life, and Decompensation. In this participatory piece, the theme of displacement is communicated through music, performance, and 360-degree video.

With a professional background in architecture, theater, and film, my work has the capacity to invite a diversity of audiences and participants to engage in themes of migration, diaspora, and home. Whether affecting agency through repurposing theatrical roles among audience and actor, designing environments, or illustrating the emotive and sensual, VR allows me to deconstruct and rearrange reality in the most immediate forums for my participants, as well as satisfying the replacement and reorientation that I work towards as a collective percipience social space - one in which new modes of being can be imagined and histories can be revised."

Asif Majid

Asif Majid is a scholar-artist-educator who researches, teaches, performs, and makes work at the intersection of Islam, media, marginality, performance, and politics. Particularly, he does this in terms of community-based participatory theatre and decolonial devising. Asif completed a practice-based PhD in Anthropology, Media, and Performance at The University of Manchester, earned an MA with Distinction in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a self-designed BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Global Peace Building and Conflict Management) from UMBC. His writings have appeared in the journals Theatre Topics, Research in Drama Education, and Contemporary Theatre Review, as well as a range of books and media outlets. Performance credits include work with The Stoop (US), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (US), Convergence Theatre (US), Royal Exchange Theatre (UK), Unity Theatre (UK), and Action Transport Theatre (UK). Asif is online at www.asifmajid.com.