Yara Bou Nassar is a Lebanese performer, writer, and director.
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 that are often focused on the deconstruction of social stereotypes and daily behavior 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.
Recently, she got selected for a three months residency at La Cité internationale des Arts starting October 2020 to develop a new creation titled “The Missed Adventure of a Hypothetical French Woman”. The project follows her family history and questions belonging and timing in a decision making process.
She is currently collaborating with an ensemble of artists on a collective creation titled “Nouvelle Nahda”, directed by Antje Schupp. It is a co-production between Theater Neumarkt in Zurich and Station Beirut and will premiere in April 2020.
She has directed a play titled “This is not a Memorized Script, this is a Well Rehearsed Story”, a text written and performed by Dima Mikhael Matta which will premiere in Beirut in February 2020. The play tackles the topic of how the queer body copes and survives while questioning the legitimacy of one’s memories.
In 2019, she got a residency at Work Space Brussels where she began the development of a new project titled “Tomorrow is the Best Day of My Life” which is still in the creation phase. 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.
In 2018, She created 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 collaborated 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 behavior.
In 2016 she created “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 collaborated with Ruth Schwegler and Paed Conca to create a short documentary theater performance "Dream Team" which debuted in "Das Sechste Kleine Festival Der Anderen Art" in Bern and which tells the stories of women who live a life different to what they have envisioned as a result of the war.
In 2014, Yara created her first solo performance “Collecting Home”, a collaboration with Swiss musician and composer Paed Conca, which premiered in Bern then Beirut. The autobiographical performance confesses through an imagined reality her own reflections on her relationship with her city Beirut.
In 2013, she co-wrote and co-directed and acted with 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-directed and acted with Youssef "Adam in an Unfruitful Paradise”, text by Raymond Jbara.
She has been active as an actress since 2005 and she has worked with various directors such as Julien Bouffier, Shakib Khoury, Fouad Naim, Sahar Assaf, Wissam Arbache among others.
Yara has acted in various 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 also 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 graduated from the Lebanese University of Arts and attended workshops in varied techniques, from improvisation and character work to mime and dance 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.
She has been a Clown Doctor since 2010 with the “Smile Foundation” working across various hospitals in Beirut.
Photo: Charles Cremona ©