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 Online Training - Curating Festivals: Rethinking and Reimagining How We Programme were:

Guest Speakers:

  • Tisa Ho (Hong Kong Arts Festival)
  • Joe Sidek (George Town Festival, Asia Forward Panel) 
  • Carole Karemera (Ishyo Arts Centre Rwanda)
  • Tobias Kokkelmans (Operadagen Rotterdam)


  • Tobias Kokkelmans (Operadagen Rotterdam)
  • Angele Galea (Science in the City, Malta)

Alumni Steering Committee representatives:

  • Sepehr Sharizadeh (Iran)
  • Adel Abdel Wahab (Egypt)

Guest Speakers

Tisa Ho

Tisa Ho is Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, one of the most important arts festivals in Asia with a strong 48-year track record of presenting some of the world’s top artists in all genres of the performing arts covering the full range from classical to contemporary, supported by extensive educational, outreach and community engagement activities and events. 

During her tenure, the Festival has presented large scale international productions, embarked on a programme of exploring new, unconventional venues to extend the Festival experience, and enriched its PLUS programmes of workshops, discussions, ancillary presentations. In 2019, the Festival launched “No Limits” a new series to promote inclusiveness in the arts. 

An advocate of gender equality, she is a long time member of the International Women’s Forum and has served as both Hong Kong Forum Chair and Singapore Forum Conference Chair. She was President of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations and the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) during which she was an active participant in the ASEAN and APEC women’s networks and in the UN CEDAW reporting process.

Tisa was born in China, grew up in Hong Kong and trained in arts management at the City University, London. She has lived in France and in Singapore, where her portfolios included programming Singapore International Arts Festival, managing the Singapore Symphony and Victoria Concert Hall and planning the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. 

She currently chairs the Board of the International Society for the Performing Arts, a global network of over 500 arts leaders; and is on the international faculty of the Academy of La Scala in Milan Italy, and the Lisbon Consortium in Portugal. In 2015, Tisa was named an Honorary Citizen of Tong Yeong in S Korea for her contributions to the Music Festival and Concert Hall in that city; in 2019, she was awarded the Degree of Doctor of the Griffith University in Australia; and in 2020 elected to the China Literature and Art Critics Association. 

Joe Sidek

Best Known as director of the George Town Festival, Joe Sidek has established himself as one of Malaysia’s strong advocates for the arts.

Before taking up the position of festival director, Joe Sidek played major roles in various forms of art expression – from event management, art curatorship, restaurant ownership and even costume design. A lesser known fact about Joe is that he still runs his family–owned textile chemical factory, Chemdyes Sdn Bhd.

With his industrialist background, entrepreneurial nature and his visionary passion for the arts, it is no surprise that 8 years after his appointment as festival director of GTF in 2010, the festival has grown incrementally ever since. Alongside GTF in 2018, Joe also directed the 3-year-old Rainforest Fringe Festival in Kuching, having founded the festival in 2017. He also helmed the Butterworth Fringe Festival for 3 years ( 2015–2017) and earlier in 2014, he brought Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival to Southeast Asia and showcased the inaugural Tropfest South East Asia in Penang.

He has been invited to speak regionally and internationally in cities like Brisbane, Taipei, Seoul, New York, Saltzburg, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Chiang Mai, Seoul, Gwangju, Shanghai, Adelaide and Yokohama among others about his role in placemaking and advocacy of the arts.

He is 2020-2022 chairman of Federation of Asian Cultural Promotion, a board member of Penang State Museum Board, and an industry expert on the industry panel of Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA).

Carole Umulinga Karemera

Carole Umulinga Karemera holds a Master in Drama and Music (Jazz) from The Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Mons (Belgium) and has performed in internationally acclaimed theater, dance and film productions such as "Sometimes in April" directed by Raoul Peck, "Sound of sand" directed by Marion Hansel, "Rwanda 94" & “Anathem” directed by Jacques Delcuvellerie, "Jaz"by Koffi Kwahulé, “Scratching the inner fields” by Wim Vandekeybus, “Battlefield” directed by Peter Brook etc.

She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Ishyo Arts Centre, one the most dynamic cultural organisations based in Kigali, involved in advocacy, capacity-building and promotion of the creative sector in Rwanda. She is the producer of Kina Festival (International Performing Arts Festival for Youth) and co-producer of Kigali Up music festival and Isaano Arts festival. She is also an arts manager, an activist supporting freedom of creative expression and is a member of the steering committee of the African Cultural Policy Network.

She is a former board member of the National Institute of Museums of Rwanda, the former Director of the Pan African Dance Festival and Deputy Secretary General of Arterial Network. She is currently a board member of the prestigious Rwandan Academy of Language and Culture, of ARTEJ/ASSITEJ Rwanda (International Association for Youth and Theater).

Her work includes international artistic collaborations for Transmedia creation dedicated to young audience with Nova Villa - Méli-môme (France), Helios theater - Hellwach festival (Germany) and Théâtre du Papyrus; Street theater creation with Uz et coutumes company (France), and transborder creative projects with female artists with Théâtre de la Poudrerie (France).

She's currently conducting the mapping and a cross-sectorial analysis for the Unesco’s project “Strengthening the creative industries in Rwanda”. She also develops an extensive work related to "Arts & Memory" and is co-leading a network for the promotion and diffusion of African and Caribbean literature called “LITTAFCAR.

Her last productions include “Mboka” (music-theater play), “My little hill” (music and puppet theatre for young audience), “We call it love” and “Our house”.

Tobias Kokkelmans

Tobias Kokkelmans studied theatre and musicology at the University of Amsterdam and worked as a dramaturge with Emio Greco PC, the Festival of Flanders (Brussels/Ghent) and the Ro Theater. He wrote regularly for art magazines as TM - Theatermaker, Etcetera and recto:verso. From 2004 to 2014 he taught at the Amsterdam Theatre School. Together with het Transitiebureau he was founder of the discussion platform De Agenda. Currently he takes care of the festival dramaturgy and artistic policy of Operadagen Rotterdam. He works for various companies, including Muziektheater Transparant (Antwerp), Wunderbaum and Urland. He is also Commision President of the Gieskes-Strijbis Podium Price.


Angele Galea

Angele Galea has acted in various theatre productions and several films including Largo Winch (Pan-Européenne, 2007), Agora (Cinébiss, 2008), Beat (Falkun Films, 2018), Lost Planet (Latina Pictures, 2019) and Project Icon (Pellicola, 2020). She is the artistic consultant of Science in the City and was the education coordinator for Valletta 2018 Foundation. She has acted in various TV adverts and lent her voice for a number of radio adverts. She holds Fellowships in Piano Performance and Music Theory, and is a presenter on TVM for Maltco Lotteries. Additionally, she taught art at youth.inc as part of their empowerment programme, and is the artistic director for More or Less Theatre. Angele is a registered teacher of Art, history and technique, Piano Performance and Music Theory. She has taken part in various collective exhibitions with her paintings, as well as solo exhibitions, the latest one being “The Insanity of Vanity”.

Alumni Steering Committee representatives

Sepehr Sharifzadeh

Sepehr Sharifzadeh  is an independent creative producer, curator, festival maker, and researcher. He started his career in performing arts as a creative writer, puppeteer, clown, and mime. At the age of 24, he co-founded the first International Theatre agency in Iran, aiming to facilitate the cultural exchange between Iran and the International performing arts scene. He has been working as project coordinator, artistic adviser, and curator with several independent festivals and organizations such as Bozar, The Festival Academy, IETM, Tehran Contemporary Music Festival, Puppet Theater Festival of Tehran-Mobarak, and Fadjr Theater Festival. 

Sepehr is an alumni of The Festival Academy and has co-founded two independent, alternative, and artist-led festivals in Iran including the Re-connect online performance festival in light of the Covid19 global pandemic.

Adel Abdel Wahab

Adel Abdel Wahab is an Egyptian Theater director, curator and culture manager based in Alexandria City, Egypt. Since 2006, Abdelwahab worked as a Project Manager in various culture organizations, then he founded “Hewar Independent Theater Company”. In 2012, he initiated “Theater Is A Must”, an independent International Theater Forum for Contemporary political and socio-political theater   together with Hewar Independent Theater Company in Alexandria; and since then he has been managing and curating all the editions of the forum.

Adel is particularly interested in the evolution of the Independent Theater and culture scene in the aftermath of the revolution; his work in contemporary theater is based on political ideas and a contemporary theater form, which uses multi-media and site-specific performance spaces. He directed several performances and his work has been presented in the “Theater Treffen” festival in Berlin, the Biennale for Young Artists BJCM in Macedonia, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, among other places.

Adel graduated from the Faculty Of Arts, Theater Department of the Alexandria University (Egypt) and was chosen to participate in the Cultural Leadership International program (CLI) by the British Council.