Renowned Egyptian theatre director Fahmy El-Khouly dies at 79

Ati Metwaly , Saturday 30 Jan 2021

The head of the Cultural Production Sector at the culture ministry praised the late artist for having a distinctive style in the world of directing, in addition to his ingenuity in acting

Fahmy El Khouly

One of Egypt's most important theatre directors passed away in the evening hours of Friday, the Artistic House of Theatre announced.

Born on 13 July 1941, Mohamed Fahmy El-Khouly (known as Fahmy El-Khouly) became interested in theatre at an early age, participating in numerous school performances and impressing viewers with his talent.

He decided to pursue theatre studies at the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts, where he graduated with honors in 1971.

El-Khouly started his professional career in the early 1960s, performing in the theater television troupe.

In 1987, he received a scholarship to continue his education in the US to study American theatre.

Long before his travel to US, El-Khouly had already established himself in Egypt’s theatre scene.

Throughout his life, he directed over 100 plays for state and private theatres as well as for university and television theatre.

He taught at the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts and the theatre department at Alexandria University.

He also gave theatre workshops and lectures in numerous cultural institutions and festivals held in Egypt and the Arab world.

Between 1987 and 1997, El-Khouly served as director of Cairo’s Modern Theatre (Al-Hadith theatre).

He then directed the Tomorrow Theatre (Al Ghad theatre) from 1997 until his retirement in 2001.

El-Khouly was also strongly involved in the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater, serving on the festival’s board of directors for more than one edition.

Fahmy El Khouly
Director Fahmy El Khouly [centre] was honored during the 27th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre which took place in September 2020. On the stage he was joined by the festival's president Alaa Abdel Aziz Sulaiman [L] and culture minister Ines Abdel Dayem [R]. (Photo: CIFET)

With his first directing experiences reaching to 1963, El-Khouly worked on a variety of Egyptian stages.

Among his well known plays are The Love Minister (1980); Salome based on a play by Mohamed Salmawy (1988), for which the director earned the state recognition; What Will We Say? (1991) starring Jala Fahmi, Sherine, Wafaa Amer; The Beautiful and the Andalusian (2003) written by Mahmoud El-Toukhy and starring Amr Mahmoud Yassin and Lucy; Bab El Fotouh (2015) featuring Youssef Shabaan Muhammad Riyad Samar Gaber.

One of his remarkable works done for the National Theatre was Jerusalem Will Not Fall (2002).

El-Khouly worked with many renowned Egyptian actors such as Abdullah Gaith, Samiha Ayoub, Nour El-Demerdash, Nour El-Sherif, Youssef Shaaban, and Mamdouh Wafi.

El-Khouly occasionally acted in some plays and television series. His acting roles on television include All the Birds Flew East (2002) directed by Hany Ismail; The Agent 1001 (2005) directed by Shereen Adel; and Father Nour by Karam El Naggar and starring Hussein Fahmy.

El-Khouly received many national and international honors and recognitions including the State Encouragement Award (1990); the Medal of Sciences and Arts of the First Class (1995); the Egypt State Award for Excellence in Arts (2010); the Order of Merit from the Kingdom of Jordan (2002); the state award from the Algeria (1985); a certificate of appreciation from the Iraqi Republic during the Art Festival in Baghdad (1988).

He was also honored in festivals and other theatrical events in several Arab countries such as Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Qatar and Yemen.

In early 2020 El-Khouly participated in the 16th Sharjah Arabic Theatre Forum, UAE, where he held a discussion titled “Arab Theatre and Acclaim: Communication and Intersection.” In it, El-Khouly spoke about his theatrical experience, and looked into the pioneers of the Egyptian theatre and their influence on the new generations of artists.

El-Khouly was recently honored during the 27th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre, which took place in September 2020.

He was mourned by all theatrical community.

The head of the Cultural Production Sector at the culture ministry, Khaled Galal, praised the late artist for having a distinctive style in the world of directing, in addition to his ingenuity in acting.

“His works represent milestones in the history of theater, and his art and creativity will remain immortal in our hearts,” Galal said in a press release.

Ismail Mokhtar, the head of the Artistic House of Theatre, described El-Khouly as “one of the most important directors of the Egyptian theatre.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Ines Abdel Dayem expressed her condolences to El-Khouly's family, adding that the renowned director "succeeded in implanting many great values ​​in Egyptian theatre and its viewers."

Below is an interview with Fahmy El-Khouly conducted by Basem Sadek for Radio Al Ahram in 2019

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