Fine Arts Sector launches new museum theatre workshop

Ahram Online, Tuesday 19 Aug 2014

Following its regular practice, the Fine Arts Sector has launched a museum theatre workshop that will culminate with a performance held at the Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum

Mahmoud Mokhtar
Garden of the Mahmoud Mokhtar Cultural Centre (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)

The Fine Arts Sector, headed by Salah El-Meligui, has launched a new museum theatre workshop which revolves around iconic Egyptian sculptor, Mahmoud Mokhtar.

Mahmoud Mokhtar, was a renowned Egyptian artist, referred to as the father of modern Egyptian sculpture. Among his well-known works are the “Egyptian Renaissance” statue in front of the Giza Zoo and the famous “Saad Zaghloul” statue next to Qasr El-Nil Bridge. In 2011, the museum celebrated Mokhtar’s 120th birthday.

The theatre workshop began on 15 August and includes over 30 students between the ages of 15 and 25. This educational practice gives students the opportunity to explore the fine arts through dynamic interactive and theatrical tools. The workshops, which will end on 20 September with a theatrical performance, are being led by Egyptian artist and teacher Mahinaz Maher who specialises in museum theatre practices.

This is not the first time the Fine Arts Sector has held museum theatre. The practice has been conducted in the Zamalek Art Gallery along with other art galleries and museums operating under the Fine Arts Sector.

The current workshop takes students to the Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum as a platform for creating museum theatre. Located in the heart of Cairo, the Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum was founded in 1962; as it expanded it came to incorporate a large space holding several exhibition halls and a garden, laying the groundwork for what in 2006 became the Mahmoud Mokhtar Cultural Centre.

During the museum theatre workshop weeks, students explore the many layers of the museum, the iconic artist, and the art forms he represented.

Apart from practical work, the students are offered a series of lectures on topics such as: "Understanding of museums and their role," "Tools of artwork production" and "Museums as a platform for theatrical expression," among others.

Students will combine the acquired skills and knowledge into a final theatrical performance for which they write text, produce props and elements of scenography, presenting Mahmoud Mokhtar, his artistic wealth, as well as shedding light on the museum that carries his name and is home to many of his works.

Museum theatre is a well-known educational form of art practiced throughout many cultural institutions worldwide. In the 1980s, when museum theatre was initiated by the Science Museum of Minnesota in the United States, it aimed to attract young people to museums and allow them to deepen their interest for its collections through theatrical tools. The practice proved successful and soon spread to other locations such as cultural institutions, fine arts museums, art galleries, zoos and aquariums in the United States and internationally.

Participants of the museum theatre workshop gather around sculpture by Mahmoud Mokhtar, at the Mahmoud Mokhtar Centre's grounds. (Photo: courtesy of Fine Arts Sector)



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