Hassan El-Geretly honoured at the 28th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre

Amira Noshokaty , Monday 20 Dec 2021

Last night, Egypt celebrated renowned director and founder of Egypt’s first independent theatre troupe, Hassan El-Geretly, at the closing ceremony of the 28th edition of the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre (CIFET).

Hassan El-Geretly
Hassan El-Geretly director and founder of Egypt s first independent theatre troupe, honoured at the 28th Cairo International Festival .official Facebook page of El warsha troupe

El-Warsha Theatre Company is among the first troupes that brought the country’s folk heritage closer to modern audiences.

El-Geretly studied theatre at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom; his passion, however, was French theatre. So, in 1972, he became an assistant director at the Bellac Theatre Festival.

Then, once he returned to Egypt, he became the managing director of Al-Hanager Theatre in Cairo, where he helped redesign the theatre and make it as forward-looking as possible.

He eventually left to focus on setting up his own independent theatre company, El-Warsha, in 1987.

El-Warsha (‘The Workshop’) focuses on presenting folk heritage on the stage of a theatre, reintroducing folk stories, epics, and songs to modern audiences. Unlike many other companies, El-Warsha’s charm lies in the fact that it is an on-going workshop for talents to flourish and nurture one another, where the younger generations can give their own interpretations of older material.

El-Geretly is a firm believer in Gustav Mahler’s quote: “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire,” and that is the secret of his success in attracting young artists that interact with traditional arts without compromising their unique styles.

The 28th edition of the CIFET ran between 14 and 19 December.

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