Aat (Arabic), is a suffix that renders nouns plural feminine.
It is the collective feminine, and includes both female and male.
Bint (girl) for example becomes Banaat(girls),
and rajul (man) becomes rijaal (men) or rijalaat(men of high stature).
A registered company in the Netherlands, Aat Theater aims to tell stories in which the feminine voice is heard, and to provide a space for individuals and groups to reflect on relevant issues and to express themselves creatively, through the performing arts, literature, education and collaboration.
It began as Aat network of women artist in Jordan in 2009. Four local women artists came together with the aim of addressing gender issues and making daring art. Dima Bawab, Toleen Touq, Shereen Zoumot and Lana Nasser. They came from different disciplines and birthed Aat International Women’s Day Festival in 2010, with their premier of Taman Banat: ‘Eight girls,’ or ‘the price of girls.’ Sold out performances and re-runs, art/installation in the foyer of the theater, curated art exhibit and promenade performance and community projects.
The festival grew by the year. Original performances were produced, some went on tour and won awards. Workshops and trainings were carried out in refugee camps and villages across the country. Co-productions were staged, international artists were hosted and provided collaborative opportunities. Youths who challenged stereotypes and taboos joined in. Jordan welcomed the new network with open arms.
Aat quickly became an item on the local and regional cultural agenda, with generous support from organizations and individuals. Four years of success and exponential growth…
The festival might have continued for many years to follow, but circumstances changed and the founding Aat-ets dispersed around the globe. Aat Festival was suspended, but the Aat-ets continued carrying the Aat mission, each in her own way.
Cover photo by Kristof Persyn