Laila Soliman (Cairo)


29.10. 5.00 pm - 6.15 pm

30.10. 8.00 pm - 9.15 pm



Entrance € 14,00 | Reduced € 7,00


artist talk after the performance on Oct 30, moderated by June Tan (Five Arts Centre Malaysia).


English with German supertitles, Arabic passages with German and English supertitles

Almost one hundred years ago, during the British occupation of Egypt, a small village near Giza called Nazlat al-Shobak was violently raided by British soldiers. A military court was convened to investigate the villagers’ allegations that the army had looted and burned Nazlat al-Shobak, terrorized its residents and executed five village notables. Amongst the witnesses called to give evidence were a dozen women who had been raped by British soldiers. Over the next few months, the nationalist movement took up these women’s stories in their slogans and pamphlets. Yet they were quickly swept aside by the political discourse of independence, and before long, history had forgotten them entirely. ZIG ZIG is a theatre performance that takes as a starting point the transcripts of the Nazlat al-Shobak investigation. In the absence of Egyptian sources documenting the incident, it was in the British Foreign Office archives that these and other materials relating to the revolution of 1919 were found.The performance brings this historical moment to life, re-examining the rape testimonies of the inspiring and courageous Egyptian women who braved humiliation in the courts of the military occupier to tell the truth about the atrocities committed by its soldiers. Five performers draw links on stage between this historical material, their personal experiences and today’s rape culture, wondering why women’s narratives of rape are so often silenced, disbelieved and belittled, and asking: how much has really changed?

Please note: At CROSSING OCEANS Laila Soliman will have a conversation with Neo Muyanga about REPRESENTATION AT DIFFERENT STAGES.


Direction Laila Soliman Performance Nadia Amin, Mona Hala, Reem Hegab, Zainab Magdy and Nancy Mounir Producer, Acting Coach, Light Designer Ruud Gielens Historical Research Katharine Halls Assistant Director Hakeem Abdelnaeem and Habiba Makhlouf Costume Design Lina Aly Assistant Cosume Design Nashwa Maatouk Stage Design Consulting Nagy Shaker Visual Research Consultant Heba Farid Technical Management Omar Madkour Technical Team Mazen Mounib Ahmed


Laila Soliman (born in 1981) is an independent Egyptian theatre director and playwright, living and working in Cairo. She studied at the German School and the American University in Cairo and obtained her MA in theater at Dasarts (AHK) in Amsterdam. Her works have been mainly shown in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and in Europe. Her play EGYPTIAN PRODUCTS (2009) was published in the anthology PLAYS FROM THE ARAB WORLD by Nick Hern Books and the Royal Court Theatre, London. Her performance text A DIARY IN SCENES: AND DON‘T FORGET NEVER TO WEAR TAMPONS AT A REVOLOUTION! was published in Theater der Zeit (April 2011).


Production and realization
Production SHISH (Brussels /Kairo) Co-Produktion Swiss Embassy in Egypt Department for International Cooperation (Kairo), HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Kaaitheatre (Brussels), Forum Freies Theater Düsseldorf, BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Zürcher Theater Spektakel, D-CAF (Kairo), House on Fire Supported by the Cultural Programme of the European Union together with Mahatat for Contemporary Art (Kairo), 15/3 Studios (Kairo), Goethe-Institut (Kairo) Funded by the Fonds TURN of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.