By Martin Banham

Supplying a accomplished account of a protracted and sundry chronicle, this background of theater in Africa is constructed from essays written by means of students within the box. The assurance is geographically large and comprises an exam of the techniques of "history" and "theater" in Africa; North Africa; Francophone theatre; Anglophone West Africa; East Africa; Southern Africa; Lusophone African theatre; Mauritius and Reunion; in addition to the African diaspora.

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By the late s and s the state theatre, once the pride of the socialist/revolutionary-inspired cultural renaissance, had neither the money nor the will to compete with the private companies, television’s vast output of soap operas or the cinema making films for video. However, the serious (state) theatre was still writer-led, attracting new writers who explored the problems arising from the materialism caused by the Open Door economic policy established after the October War victory of .

From this point on and for more than , years Egypt’s fate was linked to the constant rise and fall of the different dynasties and peoples controlling part or all of the Islamic Empire or Umma. To Egypt the Arabs brought their new religion, Islam, a new administrative official language and script, Arabic, and an allegiance to the rapidly developing new Islamic Empire that was eventually to spread from north-west Africa and Spain to central Asia. The changes took time. For the following two centuries the dominant national religion remained Coptic Christianity, with non-Muslims paying a tax (gisya).

However, Aly also sent Egyptian scholars abroad to study, principally to France and Italy. Among them was Sheikh Rifaa al Tahtawi, who admired the French theatre and translated classic French dramas into classical Arabic. Arabic itself had changed: the old Ottoman style and diction were being replaced by a modern Arabic which was better adapted to the new ideas. The first European-style Arabic productions were translated and adapted European classics acted in colloquial Arabic by Yacoub Sannu’s National Theatre Company in .

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