Join director and playwright Ahmed El Attar in conversation with Laila Soliman, Egyptian theater director & playwright. Ahmed delves into his thirty years of practice in Egypt and across the world, as well as his latest project: contemporary European theater in translation. He will talk about his career as an international theater maker and the importance of his various projects in the development of the performing arts in Egypt and across the Arab world.


Ahmed El Attar

Ahmed El Attar is a theater director and playwright. He is the founder and artistic director of the Temple Independent Theatre Company; founder of Orient Productions for Film and Theatre; and founder and General Manager of Studio Emad Eddin Foundation that provides rehearsal, residency and training space to performing artists in Cairo. His works, which address socially relevant themes, have been performed to critical acclaim throughout the Arab world and internationally. El Attar earned a BA in Theatre from the American University in Cairo (1992) and an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle (2001), and was a Chevening scholar on the Clore Leadership Programme, UK (2009).

He was born in 1969 in Cairo, where he continues to live and work.

Laila Soliman

Laila Soliman (born in 1981) is an independent Egyptian theater director and playwright, living in Cairo, but currently working wherever possible. She studied at the German School (DSB, Cairo) and obtained her BA in theater at the American University in Cairo and her MA at Dasarts (AHK) in Amsterdam. She is currently Visiting Associate Professor of Theater at the New York University in Abu Dhabi.

Her work stems from an interest in the state of flux in the contemporary sociopolitical climate and its influence on individuals, relationships and power structures. It relies on collective memories and personal histories as ways of bridging the gap between the official versions of events and intimate, individual experiences. Her performances have been shown in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria, India, South Africa and various countries in Europe. Amongst the most important works she directed are The Retreating World (2004), Ghorba, images of alienation (2006), …At your service! (2009), Spring Awakening in the Tuktuk (2010), No Time for Art 0/1/2/3 (20111_2013), Hawa ELhorreya, Whims of Freedom (2014) , The National Museum of the State Security System (2015), Zigzig (2016), Museum of Lungs (2018), Wanaset Yodit (2020). Her first opera Woman at Point Zero (2022) is currently touring internationally. Laila Soliman’s play Egyptian Products (2009) was published in the anthology Plays from the Arab World by Nick Hern Books and the Royal Court Theatre, London and her performance texts A Diary in Scenes: And don’t forget never to wear tampons at a revolution! (2011) and No Desert Roses (2017) were published in Theater der Zeit magazine.