Artists in Egypt Update, June 16

by Erin B Mee

in Activism

Post image for Artists in Egypt Update, June 16

(For more information about the situation in Egypt, and to learn how you can help, go here.)

Performances outside the Ministry of Culture continue: on 15 June  there was a street theatre performance, a Les Miserables sing-a-long in Arabic, the revolutionary repertoire of Ramy Essam, and a circus performer balancing high above the crowd. Shawn Lent, who has been attending the performances, writes: “The arts are stronger than the system.”

Two nights ago there was a rumor that violence was imminent, but it turned out to be a false alarm. The Ultras (football fans) evacuated the crowd and got them to safety. Lent, writes: “only in Egypt do a hardy collection of soccer fans (Ultras) come to protect an artists’ sit-in every night.”

Here is an image of a collaborative mural inside the occupied Ministry. It is on temporary panels “because we are not here to do damage” writes Lent. “The arts are our only weapons.”
Egypt Jun 16 Photo 1

How are the neighbors responding to the traffic disruption and the noise? On 15 June they came out on their balconies to throw caramel candies to those gathered below.


Erin B. Mee has directed productions at New York Theatre Workshop, the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, HERE, and The Ontological at St. Mark’s. In addition, she has directed two productions in India with Sopanam, one of India’s leading theatre companies.  She is the author of Theatre of Roots: Redirecting the Modern Indian Stage (2009), co-editor of Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage (2011), and editor of DramaContemporary: India (2001). She teaches Dramatic Literature at NYU.