Saadallah Wannous


Dramatist, theater producer and playwright, Wannous was born in
Syria in a coastal village near Tartus. He received his early education there and went on to study journalism in Cairo. He served as editor of the art and cultural sections of the Syrian newspaper Al Baa"th and the Lebanese newspaper As Safir. He was the Director of the Music and Theatre Administration of Syria. He wrote several one-act plays in the early sixties, and then went to France to study theatre.

Wannous was among a group of playwrights instrumental in founding an Arab Festival of Theatre Arts hosted in Damascus and attended by dramatists from all over the Arab world

He wanted theatre to involve the audience in an active way. He made important contributions to Arabic theatre through his plays: “Soireé for June 5 th” (1968), “The King of all Times" (1969), "The King is the King" (1977) and "Hanthala"s Journey from Slumber to Consciousness" (1978), "The Rape" (1990), a play about the Arab-Israeli conflict. These were followed by "Fragments from History" (1994,) "Rituals of Signs and Transformations" (1994) "Miserable Dreams" (1995) A Day of our Time" (1995) and "Mirage Epic" (1996).

In 1996, he was the first Arab writer selected by UNESCO and the International Institute of Theatre to address to the world theatre community in its celebration of International Theatre Day.

Wannous died of cancer in 1997.

References: Short Arabic Plays, An Anthology, ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi; Al Jadid, Review and Record of Arab Culture and Arts, May 1997.