Theatre Education in the Cold War Era in the Middle East
Having theatre as one of the main platforms to spread national identity, the paper explores the relationship between theatre education and the formation of the nation states in the Middle East.
The cold war was signified in the clash between young theatre tradition that was established in the cities and theatre ideologies that came from the countryside. The formation of the nation states was accompanied by a massive immigration from the countryside to the main cities in the Middle East. Theatre in the new-born nation states was one of the means to educate the public and to intensify the Arab and the socialist identities. However, theatre itself was a new art form in the Arabic-speaking countries. Therefore theatre became a practice that needed to be taught and to educate at once.
Theatre and drama institutes in the Middle East did not exist till late 1970s. The earlier decades have been neglected locally and internationally. It is argued, in the paper, that the apathy generated from the ideologies that opposed the tradition of bourgeois theatre in the cities. Social realism as well as European theatre movements that criticised the bourgeois theatre, such as Brecht and the Theatre of the Absurd, were among the theatrical backgrounds that fed the theatre movements and theatre education in the Middle East.