Theater – Culture and Performing Arts Galore

Theater in Morocco was established through the determination and passion for theater that lived in the hearts of men like Marun Al Naqquash, Sheikh Abou Khalil Qabbani and Ya'coub Sannu (also referred to as Abou Naddara). These men fought against opposing authorities and criticism to bring a form of art to life that had not yet been experienced in countries such as Morocco. Their example paved the way for theater in Morocco, which is today deeply rooted in the culture of the country.

Marun Al Naqqash started his journey to bring theater to the Arab world in 1848, when he performed in his home, entertaining his audience with a production that was molded on a play named ‘Moliere’s L’Avare’. Sheik Abou Khalil Qabbani also tried to establish theater as a form of entertainment, but the authorities in Istanbul eventually closed down his operation. Abou Naddara had traveled to Europe and brought his love for the theater home to Egypt. He wasted no time in establishing a theater company in the hope of bringing theater to the country. Naddara saw theater as a vehicle to educate and express views. His scores, which implicated the government, caught the attention of the authorities who forced him to abandon his theater after two years.

These efforts were noticed by many around the world and it did not take countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria long to establish their own theaters. Shadow Theaters were becoming very popular in Morocco. This form of theater involved a narrator telling the story with accompanying music to evoke emotions. The influence of the Western form of theater only started reaching Morocco many years after the efforts made by Naqqash and Quabbani. Traditionally, theater in Morocco was performed in open air theaters, but slowly progressed with the opening of theatre buildings.

Reworked translations of Shakespeare and others started to reach the Moroccan stage, which was believed to have created a more sophisticated audience. Theaters in Morocco still present the classic reworked productions of love, tragedy, triumph and drama. More recent productions also include unique Moroccan Theater plays that are filled with tradition and culture. Moroccan theater is an unforgettable experience, with the stories recalling the legends of the past and creating a wonderful display of talent, color and entertainment.

Be sure to visit these amazing theaters in Morocco.

The Alliance Franco-Marocaine Theater:
Located within the Municipal Theater Complex of Agadir, the Alliance Franco-Marocaine Theater offers a wide range of productions with French flair to entertain the local public as well as tourists. Shows change continuously to ensure that there is always something new and fresh for audiences to enjoy. The theater also hosts workshops, lectures and films.
Address: Municipal Theater Complex, Agadir

Amazigh Theater Festival:
The charming city of Casablanca hosts the Amazigh Theater Festival which is held in May each year. Focusing on the Amazigh (Berber) people and language, the festival features a wide variety of performances highlighting traditional theatrical principles, including mime, masks and puppetry.

Gran Teatro de Cervantes:
Named in honor of the renowned 16th century novelist, playwright and poet, Miguel Cervantes, this quaint theater which opened in 1913 but has been somewhat neglected, is currently being restored. Although there are no theater productions being staged at the moment, the building is nonetheless fascinating and worth having a look at.
Located in Tangier

Marrakech Popular Arts Festival:
Every year, either in June or July, the vibrant city of Marrakech hosts the Marrakech Popular Arts Festival, which attracts entertainers, artists and spectators from far and wide. Visitors can expect to see singers, snake charmers, fortune-tellers, dancers, acrobats, musicians, theater performers and more at this lively, colorful festival

Municipal Theater Complex in Agadir:
As the cultural center of the region, the Municipal Theater Complex in Agadir consists of a number of theaters and exhibition areas which are dedicated to entertaining and educating young and old, local and visitor with regard to the history and culture of Morocco. The Folk Art Museum which is housed in this complex also provides fascinating insight into the past and present of this exotic country.

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