Thesis Title

English Theatre in Cairo, Egypt: Dialogue and Resistance

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Jodi Kanter


While Cairo remains an uncontested center of Arabic culture, arts, and language, Cairene theatre companies routinely produce performances in English, drawing attention to (1) the post-colonial role of the English language in Egypt, with a particular emphasis on the colonial history of the country, (2) the presence of English theatre as a form in Egypt, and (3) how the use of the English language in periphery activities (i.e. theatre) may serve to promote the presence of English and its necessary implications--or, how the use of English in periphery activities may possibly be subversive to such power structures. Although English theatre may be classified as a "marginalized" form, this research purports that the affiliation English performance has with an institution as notable and influential as The American University in Cairo (AUC) legitimizes its significance. This study, then, examines the possible implications of English performance literature in Cairo (with primary attention given to performances at AUC); the analysis--which includes discussions of (1) the potential role that English theatre may play in establishing intercultural dialogue (specifically Anglo-Western/Arab-Egyptian dialogue), (2) the necessity of deciphering modes of post-colonial resistance present in specific performances and texts, and dependent upon the initial violence of colonialism, and (3) the dependency of intercultural dialogue upon a post-colonial resistance that is inherent in both performances and scripts as texts--concludes by invoking trialectic modes of thinking inherent in Bhabha's "third space" locations and asserting that English theatre, a resistance literature subect to Foucault's theory of resistance as inscribed by power (i.e. restance as riddled with reinscription), simultaneously seeks to subvert and reinforce existing (post-colonial/imperial/neo-imperial) power structures.


English-language theatre, post-colonial theatre, Egyptian theatre, American University in Cairo, post-colonial, post-colonial drama, theatre in Cairo

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Jessica A. Franklin