Join us for a very special lecture on Friday 10th November at 6pm in Lecture Theatre G6, UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, 31 – 34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY.

Fatima Rushdi and Aziz Eid: Projecting Egypt on Stage and Screen

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Fatima Rushdi (1909-1996) and Aziz Eid (1881-1942) were Egyptian theatre’s power couple. Their working relationship, culminating in their founding of the Fatima Rushdi Troupe, transcended their brief marriage and resulted in an enduring artistic legacy which has influenced theatrical and cinematic practices to this day. Eid is credited with refining what had been locally a rather haphazard practice of directing into a specialised craft. He furthermore introduced Egyptian vernacular into the mainstream theatre, thereby opening up what had been an elite art to the masses. Although Eid also acted, often starring opposite Rushdi, his lasting contributions were very much behind-the-scenes. Rushdi, on the other hand, dubbed the ‘Sarah Bernhardt of the East’, was the face and voice of their phenomenon, and her star-like qualities would transfer easily to the cinema. Praised for her finesse, her subtlety and her versatility, Rushdi played a multitude of characters from Hamlet to Cleopatra. Through their bespoke productions and Arabised adaptations of European scenarios, Eid and Rushdi dramatised the human condition with a distinctively Egyptian gloss, interrogating various layers of identity through to the Pharaonic past.

Our speaker Dr Marlé Hammond is Senior Lecturer in Arabic Popular Literature and Culture at the School of Oriental and African Studies, where she teaches modules on Arabic literature and Middle Eastern Cinema. Her research interests comprise Arabic women’s writing, medieval and modern, and early twentieth-century Egyptian melodrama. Her publications on film include a study on the role of the kiss in Egyptian film language of the 1940s and the monograph Arab World Cinemas: A Reader and Guide (forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press).

This lecture is free to all and will also be screened live on Zoom. If you don’t currently receive the Zoom links for our lectures, please request a link for this lecture:

Please note the earlier start time than usual for this lecture, and please do feel free to bring guests along to this event.

This lecture will be followed by a reception in the Petrie Museum, 7.15 – 8.45 pm, with readings from the reminiscences of Rushdi and Eid’s daughter, the artist Aziza Janssens, and an opportunity to view projections of, and purchase, her Ancient Egypt inspired paintings. These are being sold by Aziza Janssens’s children Monica and Sami Janssens who will be attending the event and are kindly donating a share of the proceeds to the Petrie Museum. 

Ticket price for reception (lecture is free): £8.50.

To book a ticket for this reception, contact us at 020 7679 2369 or

You are welcome to pay on the door but please do let us know you are coming.

Download a catalogue of Aziza Janssens’s Egypt-inspired artworks here

To purchase any of these wonderful paintings, please contact