Crowdfunding Lags for Pioneering Egyptian Theatre Project

It’s possible that the $70K USD crowdfunding goal is scaring off some potential donors:

cappxhe2opjmftgtzcqyNonetheless, it’s clear why BuSSy — a theatre project that focuses on Egyptian stories that are “un-tellable” elsewhere, with earlier versions likened to The Vagina Monologues — needs their own space.

The project launched in private American University in Cairo space in 2006.

Then, in 2010, as BuSSy director Sondos Shabayek was trying to secure a public space for a performance, she “got rejections from el-Sawy Cultural Wheel, the French Cultural Center, the Russian Cultural Center and the Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum’s new theater among other venues,” actor Nadine Emile wrote for Al Masry Al Youm at the time.

Emad Abu Ghazi, then-head of the Supreme Council for Culture, agreed to let BuSSy set up a stage at the cafeteria on the Opera House grounds. The performance went on as planned the first evening, but — after complaints from the audience — the second night was censored, with sections removed. Instead of cancelling altogether, the performers mimed the two censored sections.

Since then, BuSSy has continued to expand, staging productions and workshops in various spaces around Egypt, including “in school court yards, garages, flats, public cafe[s], rented rooms, bookshops.” Then again in March of this year, the Cairo Opera House cancelled BuSSy’s 500, which was set to take part in the fifth annual Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children. The play, which was marked as restricted to children 13+, mentioned masturbation. It was officially removed because of “technical problems.”

The fund-raising page notes:

For BuSSy to continue to share with the world the remarkable histories of our storytellers, we need a safe and open space to hold our workshops, create other activities that would help sustain the project on the long run, and help it operate independently away from censorship and content-controlling funding – which is commonly practiced by hosting venues.

The fund-raising page certainly should have a better breakdown of how the $70,000 is meant to be spent, but the project has a track record as a strong, creative, anti-censorship people’s theatre group. You can find out more on their IndieGoGo page.