Sol Abiad has been in the theatre industry for over 20 years, and is currently a lecturer in developmental drama. Parallel to her work at universities, she has founded Dubai’s first experimental "STAR TOO" & "ACT TOO" acting programmes for adults, aimed at personal and professional development. Sol's work in theatre education and in the community seeks to advocate cultural pluralism and innovation. She is dedicated to experiential learning and ensemble work, using progressive improvisational theatre for inter-personal skills development and training in the arts sector.
Photo Credit: Vincent Joseph
Interview with Sol Abiad
Why did you want to pursue a career as a theatrical director? Was this something you always wanted to do?
To me, theatre is a genuine way of bringing people together and share stories in a live setting. When you don’t use a conventional stage, there doesn’t even need to be a physical separation between the spectator and the performer. The idea of connection permeates both viewership as well as the creative process; where the bond between actors (and directors or writers etc.) strengthens the story-telling. Human connection and ingenuity fascinates me and theatre gives me the chance to explore that everyday.
What were the greatest difficulties that you faced in order to get to where you are today?
Both economics and location were unfavorable terrains at first to pursue not only theatre but experimental theatre at that. However, I was lucky enough to encounter brave and creative people along the way to take a chance and go ahead with founding the STAR TOO theatre group (a tongue-in cheek name at first, but eventually quite true). Having no means for props, costumes, nor even a stage, made us stretch our imagination and forced us to push our own boundaries. As a result of having little, we actually have everything we need by using simple cloth to imagine objects or projections instead of sets. Difficulties became benefits.
3) What's the best part of your job?
Spending most of my time with wonderfully imaginative people and the chance to create something together.
4) What piece of advice can you give to others about following their dreams?
Educated risk-assessment is of course a sound approach, and we all need to deploy critical thinking to function fully. However, our lives, or even society at large, are all the more enriched by embracing creative thinking, and dare I say, dreams. From the stuff of dreams, like sci-fi writers have put forth ideas throughout history, a lot of our everyday life involves tools invented, inspired, from that realm. The motto I use in ACT TOO course attestations for students is: “A Posse Ad Esse”, from Latin meaning from possibility to actuality. With will you can make manifest what you imagine.