Yara Bou Nassar is a Lebanese performer, theater maker, and writer.
As a theater maker, She is interested in inspecting her identity with respect to the collective memory and the paradoxical binaries of her society.
She approaches themes which are often focused on the deconstruction of social stereotypes and daily behaviour in the urban context as well as in the private and intimate space. She is particularly interested in manifestations of discomfort in the body in different forms.
Most of her projects stem from an autobiographical starting point. Her work is often based on documentary material and blurring the lines between fiction and reality. She uses a constructed persona that is inspired by her own reality but also distant from it, in order to tell stories on stage. She is interested in experimenting with different aesthetics, exploring new ways of approaching her creative work, and challenging her comfort zones.
In November 2019, she gets selected for the residency program of the French institute at La Cité Internationale des Arts (from 9th of October 2020 till 4th of January 2021) to develop a new creation titled “The Adventure of a Hypothetical Self” . The project follows her family history to interrogate questions of belonging and timing in a decision making process.
In May 2019, she gets selected for a residency at Work Space Brussels where she works on her upcoming creation titled “Tomorrow is the Best Day of My Life” which premieres in Autumn 2021 (supported by AFAC, Culture Resource, Swiss Embassy of Lebanon). The work explores the intimate fragility of the body in a private moment and questions the legitimacy of preserving memory through image by revisiting family footage from the war.
Since August 2020, Yara is an ensemble member in Theater Neumarkt in Zurich.
In February 2020, she directs a play titled “This is not a Memorized Script, this is a Well Rehearsed Story”, a text written and performed by Dima Mikhael Matta. The play tackles the topic of how the queer body copes and survives while questioning the legitimacy of one’s memories.
In 2018, She creates an interactive solo performance titled “Sometimes I Like to Stand Up Right” based on letters written by members of the LGBTQ community (commissioned by Dima Matta for the exhibition Love Letters To meem).
In 2017 she collaborates with performer/choreographer Annalena Froehlich and musician Paed Conca to create a performance titled “ Everything Is Just Fine نفس عميق” which explores the limits of anxiety in a crisis, how the human body receives violence and translates anxiety in daily behaviour.
In 2016 she creates “The Wedding”, a performance that tackles the social violence inflicted on us by imposed gender roles and ridicules the current power structures of our societies.(commissioned by Nabil Canaan for the opening of VIVA DADA exhibition at Station Beirut)
In 2016, she was also chosen as part of the acting company for the Sundance Theater Lab.
In 2015 Yara writes and directs a short documentary theater performance titled "Dream Team" which debuted in "Das Sechste Kleine Festival Der Anderen Art" in Bern.
In 2014, Yara creates her first solo play “Collecting Home”, a collaboration with Swiss musician and composer Paed Conca, which toured in Bern then Beirut. Through an imagined journey, this autobiographical performance tells her story about her relationship with her city Beirut.
In 2013, she co-writes, co-directs and acts alongside Elie Youssef “I Have a Goldfish”, a play that tackles the issue of one’s homeland, identity, and belonging via the scope of the human memory.
In 2011, She co-directs and acts with Youssef in "Adam in an Unfruitful Paradise”, text by Raymond Jbara.
As an she has been active since 2005. She has worked with various directors such as Julien Bouffier, Shakib Khoury, Fouad Naim, Sahar Assaf, Wissam Arbache among others. Yara has also acted in films, among them “Listen” by Phillipe Aractingi, “Faces in the Sun” by Farah Shaer, “Al Dar” by Wassim Tannious, “Wahl” by Emile Abu Diwane”. She starred in “Jad and Assil” by Bane Fakih which earned her a nomination for best actress in leading role at the New York International Film Festival.
Yara studied theater at the Lebanese University of Arts and attended many workshops in New York (Strasberg Institute), Barcelona (Esquella de Mimo), and Beirut with directors such as Nathalie Garraud (FR), Federico Leon (ARG), and Kassem Bayatli (IQ) among others.
Between 2010 and 2019 she did an ongoing formation as a clown doctor and worked “Smile Foundation” across different hospitals in Beirut.
Photo: Charles Cremona ©