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AWAN Festival 2023: ASWAT Cabaret

Thu 9 March, 20:00
£12 / £10 conc + BF

A cabaret show with a Middle Eastern and North African twist, presented by Arts Canteen as part of their 2023 Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) Festival

Join us to celebrate the festival’s ninth anniversary with an evening packed with music, spoken word and poetry!

After a sell-out concert last year, AWAN Festival returns to Grand Junction this March, with an unmissable evening of cabaret featuring the ASWAT (‘voices’ in Arabic) of London’s most talented, emerging female performers from the Middle East and North Africa.

Line Up includes Sunkissed Child, Amal Khalidi, Sana El Wakili, Tasneim Zyada, Chifaa Khelfaoui and Heba Alhayek.

The evening is presented by Arts Canteen in collaboration with Grand Junction.


The evenings stellar line up includes

Sunkissed Child (Yasmina) is a Leeds and London-based artist from Lebanon. Through her music and captivating lyrics, she shares pieces of herself and her life story through a mix of cultures, languages and genres. Her sound takes influences from Neo-soul, R&B and Hip-Hop as well as from Lebanese, Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures. Yasmina has just released a new single with hip-hop star Otis Mensah, called LOVE N ATTENTION.

Amal Khalidi is a multi-disciplinary, poet, musician, and storyteller born and raised in London. Amal’s work takes inspiration from their experience of being a part of the North African diaspora, and the cultural fluidity of London and attempts to understand the absolute silliness of the everyday.

Tasneim Zyada is a British-Palestinian spoken word artist, published poet and voice over actor. A perfectly calm storm on the spoken word scene, Tasneim has performed for the likes of Shubbak, Bloomsbury and AWAN festival, and most recently headlining at the first festival for showcasing Palestinian artists in London, PalArt Festival. Her work explores the themes of identity, displacement, mental health and faith.

Sana El Wakili is a multidisciplinary artist based in London with North African heritage. Sana’s poetry, writing and acting is influenced by spoken word and contemporary circus, music, visual art, as well as lived experience. A true cross-arts maker with a bold artistic vision, Sana explores truth through experimentation, innovation and poignancy. She creates work for radio, theatre, film and television.


Heba Alhayek is a London-based Palestinian author, communication consultant, and facilitator. Her first book, Sambac Beneath Unlikely Skies, won the 2022 Palestine Book Awards and was chosen as a 2021 Book of the Year by The White Review, Middle East Eye and The New Arab.

Chifaa Khelfaoui is a spoken word artist, actor and writer. She’s currently training at Kingdom Drama School and is part of the Theatre Makers cohort at the Old Vic. She uses poetry to express her thoughts and emotions on the complications of life – particularly those faced by Arab women. Her work takes inspiration from hip-hop and conscious rap. In the future, she hopes to incorporate different languages in her work for the purpose of connecting to a global audience.


AWAN Festival: Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) is the UK’s only contemporary multi-arts festival dedicated to showcasing Arab women’s artistic work, taking place each March, to coincide with International Women’s Day across venues in London and beyond. The festival showcases work in venues across London including Rich Mix, Royal Albert Hall, Grand Junction and the Arab British Centre and Medway Library celebrating and promoting high quality female artists from the Arab world and diaspora the cross-arts festival features music, literature, visual art, theatre, comedy and performance, along with a series of workshops and development opportunities for emerging artists.

Arts Canteen:  Established in 2010, Arts Canteen is an arts organisation that empowers artists from the Arab world and beyond to tell their own stories, change perceptions, and tackle the big issues in the world.  For further information visit: www.artscanteen.com

Date: Thursday 9 March 2023

Start Time: 20:00

Doors: 19:00

Length: approx.  2 hours

Bar:  Open from 19:00. We serve a selection of craft beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks.


General Admission £12 + bf

NUS/Unemployed/Low Income £10 + bf

We recommend pre-booking tickets to guarantee entry. Booking on the door will result in an additional £1 on top of ticket price and booking fee.

Venue: Grand Junction is a venue for the community, arts and culture based at St Mary Magdalene Church. We also have a café serving delicious food overlooking the canal.

Closest Stations: Royal Oak (Circle and Hammersmith & City line) 0.3 miles

Warwick Avenue (Bakerloo line) 0.4 miles

Paddington Station (National Rail services and Circle, District, Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City line) 0.9 miles


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