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Articles, Essays, Volume 6

My First Encounter with Nehad Selaiha

My First Encounter with Nehad Selaiha
By Katherine Hennessey
Arab Stages, Volume 6, Nehad Selaiha Memorial Issue (Spring, 2017) 
©2017 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publication

I don’t write reviews exactly; they’re supposed to be reviews of the performances, but they are not precisely so because I try to introduce the political, socio-political, and economic contexts into the art. I don’t believe that art, any kind of art, happens in a vacuum. —Nehad Selaiha, 2013 interview with al-Ahram

I remember the first time I came across Nehad Selaiha and her theatre criticism. It was 2011, and I was living in Sana’a, researching Yemeni theatre and attempting to get a handle on how different it was from theatre on the rest of the Arabian Peninsula. I’d found some useful materials in bookstores and libraries, but the unrest of the Arab Spring limited my ability to move freely around the city. So on days when I had to stay at home, and if the electricity and internet held out, I would pore over every reference I could find online, in Arabic or in English, to theatre and performances in the GCC.

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