"The art of theatre has lost one of its knights and pioneers," Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem said in a statement on Facebook.
El-Shafaai was one of the most prominent theatre directors of Egypt.
Born in 1939 in Sharqiya governorate, El-Shafaai was always fascinated with the rich intangible heritage of Egypt and its unique traditional epics and stories.
In 1967, he founded his first heritage theatre troupe, where he featured gems of Egyptian folk stories and epics such as ‘Yassin and Bahia’ and ‘Adham Al Sharqawi.’
In 1971, he was the first director of Al-Samer Theatre, for which he directed theatrical works based on sirahs of each of ‘Ali Al-Zeibaa’, Bani Helal saga on which he was awarded the state encouragement award in 1985.