LAILA DEBS is a British Lebanese Casting Director and Talent Agent, Theatre Director, Producer, Performing Arts and Broadcast Media Creative Consultant living in London since 1987.
She has a BA degree in Communication Arts from Beirut University College in Lebanon, an MPhil and PhD in Theatre Comparative Literature from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London.
Her professional career began as a co-director at the Theatre de Beyrouth in Lebanon for two years during the civil war (1980 to 1982). Concurrently she worked as a film and theatre critic for one year at The Monday Morning, a leading Lebanese English magazine. She then became an associate professor in Communication Arts at Beirut University College for four years (1983 to 1987), a period where she gained extensive experience in theatre through acting, directing and producing. The four years she worked as an associate professor, teaching six theatre and communication arts courses, were proactive as she successfully created a beneficial curriculum for a generation of students who were crushed under the damaging weight of the civil war. Her courses were highly sought by students for the novelty of her teaching methods. The generation that graduated under her tutorship proved to be ambitiously motivated and the majority of them presently leading successful careers in the media. Her name continues to be linked to that successful programme which motivated an otherwise disillusioned group of students.
Since 1990 she has been working as a talent Casting Director while running an extras casting agency, The David Artistes Management Agency, a hands modeling agency, Derek’s Hands, a body parts modeling agency, Spare Parts and a Personal Management, C. A. Artistes Management. In 1992 she launched her own family travel consultancy, Economic Travel Services, which she has since handed over to the family to run.
In 2004 she headed the casting committee on MBC’s production of Big Brother Arabia, produced in Bahrain and as Production Manager for MBC’s reality show, The Investor, in Dubai. She wrote and acted in Hakawati Freestyle, a live performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum in August 2006, under the title event of Arabise Me. In April 2007 she was hired as Creative Consultant with MBC’s Creative Content Department to oversee programme content development and creation working with a team of 6 creative producers between Beirut and London while attending relevant TV content markets worldwide. In February 2008 she was commissioned by Jeddah Economic Forum Events to direct a spectacular traditional clothing display for the women Gala Night at the in Saudi Arabia where she devised, choreographed and directed 51 models.
In July 2008 she was featured as the Hands Modelling specialist in the BBC3 documentary, I'm Kylie's Body Double. Due to the inundating response resulting from the documentary's success, Laila added a body parts modeling branch to her agency. In April 2009 she was recruited as Motivational & Pitching techniques advisor on Stars of Science, a docu-reality television programme produced by Khayal Productions for Qatar Foundation in Doha. Her article recounting the events leading up to her live performance in "Hakawati Freestyle" has recently been published in Al-Raida, The Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World's quarterly journal for the Summer/Fall 2008 issue, titled "Women in the Performing Arts".
In October 2009 she was re-commissioned by Khayal Productions to recruit engineering, design and business experts and senior panel of Judges for Qatar Foundation's second season of Stars of Science and followed soon after in March 2010 with a second appearance on the show hosting a Pitch Performance techniques workshop. In November 2009 she was recruited as Production Manager on MBC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". The experience was highly invigorating working with a young talented production team. The show enjoyed excellent ratings for the broadcaster.
From March 2010 until January 2011 she co-created within MBC’s Programme Development Unit a novel TV format “Hiya Wa Huwa”, a fusion of reality mixed with musical and dramatic segments. The format was greenlit by the network and proceeded straight into production whereby she was contracted the dual roles of Production Manager and Producer. The show was a total success and achieved the highest ratings of in-house produced programmes for the season. In March 2011 she was contracted by Events in Saudi Arabia to oversee the front of house coordination on Jeddah Economic Forum 2011.
Currently Laila has obtained exclusive rights to a true story that she is pitching to film studios and production companies in the UK and the US.