Editors Note: Nehad Selaiha

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In the mid-1970s Selaiha taught Shakespearian drama at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, returning later in that decade to teach drama and criticism at the High Institute for Art Criticism in Cairo, where she began her influence upon an entire generation of Egyptian theatre-makers and scholars.  She earned her PhD in drama from the University of Exeter, and then returned to the Institute, of which she became Dean in 2001.

During the 1990s Selaiha emerged not only as the dominant critical commentator on the Egyptian theatre but as the most influential advocate for the developing independent theatre movement and for a new generation of actors, directors, and dramatists.  She also became for many the voice of the Egyptian theatre, her reviews in al-Ahram providing for much the English-speaking world the best insight into that theatre and Selaiha herself regularly invited to represent the Arab theatre at major conferences around the world.

Her work was honored and awarded at most of the leading theatre festivals throughout the Arab world and she received a number of major state awards marking her outstanding contributions to the arts, but her memory will surely be best preserved in the hundreds of perceptive essays she created, leaving behind a marvelously nuanced and detailed picture of several decades of the modern Egyptian theatre, and perhaps even more significantly, in the countless lives she touched in Egypt and abroad in in whom she left something of her dedication, devotion to and love of the theatrical art.

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