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Arabic Theatre

Established in 2007 as the Arabic Theatre Working Group, ATWG exists to broaden international understanding of the theatre and performance cultures of the ‘Arabo-Islamic World.’ In 2009, the group voted to retain the appellation ‘Arabic’ in recognition of the historically unifying role of the Arabic language. This recognition notwithstanding, the group is neither meant to be exclusive nor to promote any nationalist or religion-based agenda. Rather, it seeks to maintain its scholarly mission by holding up its key definitional terms to ongoing critical scrutiny.

Defined in strictly geographical and political terms, the operations of the group cover theatre and performance material from the member states of the League of Arab States and/or the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. However, both the operative adjectives Arab and Islamic should be understood here to demarcate, primarily, a general cultural area of scholarly exploration and negotiation. Investigations of material from the many non-Arab and non-Muslim communities located within the Arab/Muslim world are welcomed by the group. The group equally welcomes material covering the theatre and performance activities of Arab and Muslim ‘diasporic’ communities.

Subjects can be drawn from all areas of theatre activity as well as from performance work that lies outside the traditional European concept of theatre. Methodological approaches from the fields of (theatre) translation, cultural, and postcolonial studies will doubtless be represented in the work of the group, but all approaches that will provide a better understanding of this large field of studies are welcome.

The membership of the group is open to all paid-up members of the IFTR/IFTR, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or religion. Graduate students and early-career researchers are particularly welcome, as well as practice-based researchers and reflexive practitioners. In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the availability of appropriate translation arrangements, the group may consider accommodating participants who are unable to deliver their papers in either English or French.


Work Plan

Discussion of various future projects for the Working Group are continuing by email until the next major meeting of the group at the FIRT conference in IFTR 2014. Among the projects being explored are the development of ongoing bibliographies of translations and other teaching, performance and research materials, including, of course, videos and recordings; the development of a translation project; exploration of joint sessions in the future with other working groups; development of a consortium of scholars teaching academic courses in the material covered by the working group; and the eventual linkage of such projects and others through the internet. Various subcommittees of the working group are being formed to explore each of these proposals.



To Be Updated



Marvin Carlson, Graduate Center, City University of New York:

Hazem Azmy, Ain Shams University (Egypt):


Next meeting: IFTR/FIRT 2014 (University of Warwick, UK)

Last meeting: IFTR/FIRT 2013 (Barcelona)