Modern Theatre in Tunisia
Theatre in Tunisia is quite rich and advanced due to its close contact with European dramatic arts. Its modernity did not prevent Tunisian artists from seeking indigenous identity and addressing local subject matters with great subtlety. During the 31-year tenure of President Habib Bourguiba, the nationalist leader and statesman who served as the country’s leader from independence in 1956 to 1987, the father of Tunisian theatre was Aly Ben Ayed (1930–1972), who was a talented innovator of classics as director and actor. The second major figure who dominated Tunisian theatre was Moncef Souissi (1944–2016), whose reputation extended beyond Tunisia. He taught at Kuwait’s Theatre Academy and directed there the popular Bye, Bye London (1981) and followed it with Bye, Bye Arabs (1986). He directed 60 productions in more than a city and a country and eventually became the Artistic Director of Tunis National Theatre Company (1984–1988) where he put on some heralded productions.