Theatre for Social Change – Theatre Hub at Heliopolis University and its Space of Culture

In many parts of the world, hardly any arts and cultural events have taken place in recent months. However, the “Space of Culture” at Heliopolis University (HU) had not stopped its activities and continued to host a wide variety of performances under appropriate security measures.

The latest initiative at Heliopolis University aims to promote an expansion and renewal of theatre and drama (see also “Acting and its Impact on Consciousness Development”, Research by Dorothea Walter). A “Theatre Hub” is to be created that addresses people in their wholeness, fosters their emotional as well as spiritual intelligence and empathy, promotes understanding of individual destiny and socially relevant issues – fundamental skills for a social change.

An acting school, acting courses for families, speech and voice training for professional speakers, writing courses or puppet and shadow theatre courses will be established. In addition, the theatre hub includes a poetry salon, which has already existed for several years and serves to ensure that the works of Arabic poetry are not forgotten.

Places for theatre work are also to be set up for the 13 villages around the SEKEM Main Farm. “It is important to us that the Theatre Hub moves topics that are relevant to the social problems and challenges of today, such as gender stereotypes, `Economy of Love’ and the story of a tea bag, genital mutilation, a campus free of sexual harassment and much more,” explains Dorothea Walter, who is leading the creation of the Hub. “In addition, students at HU should be concretely involved by writing or directing scenes themselves.”

One production from the new Theatre Hub is the play “The Hidden Treasure – Women of Sufism”, which is about women in mystical Islam. “There have been many women who were enlightened, holy and spiritual teachers but have been forgotten. In the play, these women get their voices back,” says Dorothea Walter. The poster for the play already reveals the high esteem in which women were held many centuries ago with a quote from the famous Persian Sufi poet and mystic Rumi: “Woman is a ray of God, she is not the earthly beloved; she is creative, not created.”

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