Hassan El Geretly

 Hassan el Geretly

After graduating from drama, literature, and multimedia schools in the UK and in France, Hassan El Geretly worked first as an actor, then as a director. After collaborating with film director Youssef Chahine on two different projects, he founded the company El Warsha in Cairo in 1987. The company adapted texts by Peter Handke, Dario Fo, and Harold Pinter, and tried to “Egyptianise” the plays of Alfred Jarry. After two shows, Dayer Maydour and Dayeren Dayer, for which the company worked with shadow puppeteers, a major change occurred, with El Warsha now finding its inspiration in the streets of Cairo, in the endangered popular culture of Egypt. The company then began a long process of initiation to storytelling, an ancestral and widespread tradition in Egypt, and turned to other traditional forms of art, alternating periods of research and of training in various fields: medieval Banu Hilal saga with Sayyed Al Dowwy, one of its last practitioners; ancient stick dance, whose only school in Egypt was founded and funded by El Warsha; shadow play; puppet theatre, etc. Over the past twenty years, the company has also developed a large repertoire of songs, tales, and sketches from all over Egyptian culture. Taking the form of a music hall production, The Nights of El Warsha gave birth to new artistic forms such as the play Zawaya (Angles), based on testimonies from the 2011 revolution.

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