A new festival dealing with the relationship between in the Middle East, North Africa and the West has launched in the UK.

Sutton Theatres are hosting Marhaba Magreb, a celebration of North African theatre and dance, from November 21-29.

The shows involved all deal with taboo or difficult subjects in their home countries of Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

Sutton Theatres Executive Director Beri Juraic said: “One of the key messages of the festival is to actually change people’s misconceptions about the region.

It is important to give a platform for the voices to be heard, especially those of younger generations, and theatre is one of the best places to do so.

In the current climate and with so much negativity in the media, it is important for us to open up a dialogue based on mutual respect rather than making rushed comments.

It seems to me that this is the only way to solve the crisis. It is easy for artists and programmers to say that the audiences don’t want to see work that deals with taboo or difficult issues.

When given the right context, the audiences do respond positively.”

The shows in the festival include Plasticby choreographer Meher Awachri, End/Ignified by Algerian company El-Ajouad, and What The Day Owes to The Night.

End/Ignified was written by controversial Algerian journalist Mustapha Benfodil, and deals with self-immolation as a form of social protest during the Arab Spring.

Other shows include The World Sleeps in an Arab Womanand an Arabic translation of Hamlet.

There are also a range of other events happening after the performances, including workshops, and discussions with the writers and artists.

Marhaba Magreb is taking place at the Sutton Theatres until 29 November. For more information, and tickets, click here.

Image: Sutton Theatres