Karam Motawea: Remembering a prolific Egyptian theatre actor and director

Ahram Online , Sunday 10 Dec 2023

9 December marks the 27th death anniversary of the Egyptian theatre director and actor Karam Motawea.

Karam Motawea


Born on 7 December 1933, Motawea passed away on 9 December 1996 in Cairo, shortly after his return from the USA where he spent his last months being treated for liver cancer that eventually took his life. 

Motawea is popular among the general audience due to his many appearances in theatre, films, and television series. He was also one of the leading theatre academics and one of the most important figures in the Egyptian and Arab theatre movement, often referred to as the patron of Egyptian theatre.

He is a graduate of the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts in Cairo, where he studied in parallel to his studies at the Faculty of Law. He studied also for five years at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Rome.

Motawea launched his career in theatre in plays such as Al-Farafeer (Poor Laymen, 1964), Yassin and Bahia (1965), and The Boy Mahran (1965) which he acted in and directed.

As he got fast involved in films and television series, his most important work of that time was his role in Sayed Darwish film (1966), where he co-starred beside Hind Rostom.

Then came roles in Edrab El-Shahateen (The Beggars' Strike), starring Lubna Abdel-Aziz, followed by Motawea and Bahia (1982), Daleel El-Eteham (Accusation Evidence, 1983), and Ana Wel Azab Wehawak (Me, Torment, and Your Love), being among his best-known films. 

He continued to work in theatre, directing many plays on Egypt's most important stages; he also lectured at the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts.

He was married three times, including his marriage to the renowned actress Soheir El-Morshedi, his life companion, with whom he has a daughter, the accomplished actress in her own right Hanan Motawea.

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