Alissar Chidiac is a Creative Producer and Community Engaged Arts Practitioner who has been dedicated to working through cultural action for 40 years. She has deep experience facilitating innovative arts programs in Greater Western Sydney, on the Lands of the Dharug and Dharawal People.
Alissar started out in the late 1970s with women’s street theatre and in the early 1980s became involved in community arts. Since 1991 her focus has been on Arab Australian cultures through contemporary production, cultural heritage and performance work. Theatre work in the 1990s included working with Death Defying Theatre (aka Utp), Taqa Theatre and SAFA (‘The Politics of Bellydancing’).
She has developed intensive arts and cultural programs on local, regional and national levels, including with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Auburn Community Development Network, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and Information and Cultural Exchange.
Alissar founded Arab Theatre Studio in 2014, a contemporary arts collective producing Arab-centred critical conversations and performance work, and she continues as one of the Creative Producers. She received a two year Fellowship in 2005 from the Australia Council for the Arts, and in 2010 the Australia Council’s Ros Bower Award, which honours a lifetime contribution to community arts and cultural development.
Photo credit: George Voulgaropoulos, Parramatta, people, and culture series 2016