Qalansiyah Cultural Heritage festival

The Qalansiyah Cultural Heritage Festival was celebrated on Monday 25 November 2019 in the Socotra Archipelago, Republic of Yemen. The event was organised in collaboration with the Socotra Culture and Heritage Association, the General Organisation of Antiquities and Museums (GOAM) and the Environment Protection Authority.

This activity forms part of the Soqotra Cultural Heritage Project that was launched in 2018 through a partnership programme funded by the British Council and implemented in collaboration between the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and Freie Universität Berlin.

The Soqotra Cultural Heritage Project aims at recognising, conserving and raising awareness of the rich and diverse heritage of this exceptional UNESCO World Heritage site.

This festival was organised by a team of Socotri and international experts. It featured unique theatrical work that was performed by 25 Qalansi children, explicitly designed to shed light on the different aspects of Soqotri Cultural Heritage, and to enhance the connection between the young generations and the heritage inherited from their ancestors.

The children grew up in the town of Qalansiyah and were introduced to theatre work for the first time. They were trained by the Soqotri team and the Swedish expert Jacob Lindfors during a workshop called “Cultural Heritage and the Art of Theatre” which was held from 7 to 19 November 2019.

The festival also included a variety of activities on the Socotri language, poetry, local handicrafts, musical performances and traditional dancing, all of which aimed at reviving and promoting Socotran heritage for current and future generations.