Egyptian National Theatre Festival 2024 to be Named After Samiha Ayoub

August 20, 2021

Director of the National Theatre Festival, Mohamed Ramadan, announced that the 17th edition of the festival to be named after veteran actress Samiha Ayoub.

His announcement came during the closing ceremony of the 16th edition of the festival which was held between July 30 and August 14th, 2023.

Ayoub, film and theater actress, dubbed as The Queen of Arab Theater. She played roles in more than 170 plays, movies, TV and radio series.

In 1964, Ayoub played the leading role in the Egyptian version of Jean-Paul Sartre play “Les Mouches”, The Flies. The French philosopher, playwright, novelist Sartre attended a performance of his pay in Cairo. In the photo taken by Fathy Hussein, Sartre shakes hands with Ayoub after the performance.

Born in Shubra, Cairo in 1932, Ayoub attended a nun’s School. She graduated from the Theater Institute in 1953 where she studied under Zakky Taleimat, the master director of Egyptian theatre.

Ayoub later joined the al-Qawmmy Theater (The National Theater) which she later became its director from 1975 to 1985. Prior to that, she was director of the Modern Theater from 1972 to 1975.

Throughout her career, she received many awards and honors, such as m the Order of the Republic from President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966, and the Order of Merit of the First Class from the Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in 1983.

In addition, she received The Légion d’Honneur, Order of the Knight from the French President Giscard d’Estaing in 1977; a medal from Tunisia and a certificate of appreciation from the late President Anwar Sadat in 1979.

For her outstanding career in both cinema and theater, and for her contribution to the theatrical arts in Egypt, they named the big hall in the National Theater after her, in a celebration that took place in 2015.

As an outstanding theater personality, in 2023, Ayoub was selected by the Executive Council of the International Theatre Institute to write the message for the World Theatre Day, celebrated annually on March 27th since 1962.

Read Samiha Ayoub’s message here

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