Egyptian theatre researcher, translator and critic Hazem Azmi has died at the age of 49 in Belgrade, Serbia where he was attending an annual international theatre congress (8-13 July) organised by the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), the Ministry of Culture announced in an official press release.
According to the Egyptian scenographer Hazem Shebl, who was also attending the congress, Azmi was found dead in his hotel room on Tuesday.
The medical team that arrived on the scene cited natural causes as the cause of death, according to the release.
An assistant professor at the Department of Drama and Theatre Criticism at the Faculty of Arts of Ain Shams University, Azmi was a co-convener of the Arabic Theatre Working Group of the IFTR/FIRT and his participation in the congress this year focused on presenting Arab theatre.
A translator, cross-cultural animator and theatre researcher, Azmi earned his PhD at the University of Warwick in the UK, with a thesis on post-9/11 performance realities.
He lived in Cairo while continuing to create strong links between the Egyptian and international theatre field.
In 2013 he was appointed as a member of the Steering Committee for Theatre at the Supreme Council of Culture and deputy editor-in-chief of Al-Masrah, Egypt’s oldest existing specialist quarterly.
He was also a founding board member of the Egyptian centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI).
Azmi remained very active in Egypt's theatre circles. He was at the board of the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre (CIFCET) in 2014 when the Ministry of Culture tried to revive the two-decades old festival which had been suspended since 2011.
He co-edited (with Marvin Carlson) a special issue of Theatre Research International on Theatre and the Arab Spring” (38.2), and contributed to "The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History" (2013; eds, David Wiles and Christine Dymkowski).
He also worked on numerous translations of various works from English to Arabic focused on theatre and literary works.
Azmi authored a book Staging Egypt on the Global Stage: Egyptian Performance Realities from 9/11 to the Arab Spring, released in 2017.
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