The eighth Masrachid, the Arab language monodrama festival, has a new look. Participants recently began five months of writing, directing and design workshops aimed at raising standards and nurturing new talent. "There is a serious lack of writers in the Arab sector," says project director and lighting designer Firas Roby, who has been with Masrachid since it started. "So this year we decided on a process of creative enrichment, to develop a new approach to text as opposed to traditional storytelling. There will be 10 sessions on text, 11 on directing and others on set, lighting and music. The Ministry of Culture, Science and Sport has approved funding for the project that will be offered to participants at no cost. Teachers include playwright and author Salman Natur, actor Yussuf Abu Varda, directors Ofira Henig and Itzik Weingarten, designer Asraf Hana and Roby himself. Classes are being held at the Acre Theater Center that initiated Masrachid, and the festival will take place there in July.