Topic for Debate
Theatre in the Arab world
Hi all,
Any insight ond designing a theatre in the Arab World would be more than useful. I am particularly interested in:
Traditional forms of theatre and the kind of spaces they were performed in
and if they include the city -

Relationship of audience and performers

Relationship of speakers and performers

Role of music

Women in plays

Women in the audience

Cultural aspects of family (?) attending a performance.


Or if you can point me towards the right resources, I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you

Kenet Bakamovic
Theatre in the Arab world
Kenet. In Turkey there is a traditional puppet show something like the English version "Punch and Judy".

In Bukhara or Samarkand, I saw a traditional Uzbek show with music by men and the dance by women and in the area of Afghanistan, etc, I believe it was traditional for boys to dance.

In terms of performances, most celebrations such as marriages and births have musicans and dancers.

Similarly, street story-tellers are a traditional form of entertainment.
Frank John Snelling
Theatre in the Arab world
Hi, I have been residing in the UAE for a year. As far as theatre is concerned, the closest scene i have witnessed is a sort of traditional dance by men in the desert under the stars. The arabs are very keen on their culture and traditions, and this shows in their affection for the desert, the nomadic life, the gender proprieties etc. though they will be heading out to the desert from their lavish bungalows in the metropolis on Land Cruisers and Pajeros! Of course this seam with the modern life is inevitable. I guess the nomad style negates the need for a certain kind of place, but this very fact can be used as a challenge to create a space that holds in its essence the coming together of their traditions and culture and their modern reality. Women hold a very important, yet hugely non-public role in uae society... there are currently constant efforts to engage more local women in education, jobs, etc. Socially, the gatherings of local arab men and women are strictly segregated... You will see groups of arab men sitting around sipping coffee at malls, but no local woman amongst them. Groups of arab women are also seen going around unaccompanied by any men... the family is of course an exception to this. In the dance performances as well, the singing and the dance moves, and gestures are all strictly male. These observations are all of local arabs in the uae, who uphold their traditions and customs. There are many arabs who have modernised their cultural activities according to the western trends perhaps, of intermingling of the sexes, and the adapted activities; combined dance performances by arab pop singers etc. But this latter trend is seen more in the rest of the arab world, the UAE arabs, however rich or adapted to modern life they are, still largely retain the traditional arab sensibilities.
Sheherbano Mehboob


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