Cairo in the Roaring 20’s with Raphael Cormack

21 September '21 at 6:00 pm - 12 October '21 at 7:30 pm

“If you visit a city during the day, you cannot claim to know it. You must see its nightlife” – Jeanette Tagher

The 1920s in Cairo were a time of revolution – political, social, and cultural. Egypt had recently won independence from British rule (officially at least if not always in practice), women were becoming more prominent in public life, and Cairo was one of the most multicultural cities in the world where Muslims, Christians, and Jews all rubbed shoulders in cafés, bars, and theatres.

Based on the research behind the new book Midnight in Cairo: The Female Stars of Egypt’s Roaring ‘20s, this online course uses the stories of the singers, actresses, and dancers of this period to tell a different kind of Middle Eastern history. Exploring the political, social and cultural histories of the period, historian and author Raphael Cormack will guide you through the smoky cabarets, raucous music halls and crowded theatres of Cairo’s nightlife district where legendary Oum Kalthoum got her first break and where a former nightclub singer, Mounira al-Mahdiyya, performed the first Arabic opera. This is the story of the vibrant culture of the 20th century Arab world; and the hidden history of a Middle East defined by creativity.

Click below to see the full course breakdown week by week.

Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Dates: 21 September '21 | 28 September '21 | 5 October '21 | 12 October '21

25th May: Beginnings

Explore how Cairo’s modern entertainment industry developed over the late 19th century and early 20th century with the rise of theatres, nightclubs and 78-rpm records. We’ll look at how it transforms with the carnivalesque 1919 revolution which ignited the social change and cultural boom of the 1920s.

1st June: The Golden Age

Look at the political, social, and cultural movements being born (including the feminist movement) as well as the increasingly diverse makeup of the city’s population. Examine how this paved the way for this period of creativity in music, dance, and theatre, as well as its biggest stars, some of which are still celebrated worldwide today.

8th June: Global Arab Celebrities

How were modern celebrities created? Dive into period magazines, records, films, and autobiographies and learn how Egyptian and Arab performers became international superstars, touring the world in the 1920s and 1930s, from Baghdad to New York.

15th June: Endings

Chart the various forces that led to the decline of Cairo’s interwar nightlife – from the rise of the film industry worldwide to the forces who sought to censor it, culminating in the Cairo Fire of 1952 which destroyed many of the bars and cabarets that had fuelled the entertainment world. Discover why the incredible history of Egyptian nightlife and culture more generally should be celebrated today as it was in the roaring 20s.

This program will take place live online with an opportunity to interact with the instructor.

Tickets include a hardback copy of Midnight in Cairo, which is published by Saqi Books. UK book delivery included, other countries can be posted to but please contact info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk before booking to confirm postage cost.

Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Dates: 21 September '21 | 28 September '21 | 5 October '21 | 12 October '21

25th May: Beginnings

Explore how Cairo’s modern entertainment industry developed over the late 19th century and early 20th century with the rise of theatres, nightclubs and 78-rpm records. We’ll look at how it transforms with the carnivalesque 1919 revolution which ignited the social change and cultural boom of the 1920s.

1st June: The Golden Age

Look at the political, social, and cultural movements being born (including the feminist movement) as well as the increasingly diverse makeup of the city’s population. Examine how this paved the way for this period of creativity in music, dance, and theatre, as well as its biggest stars, some of which are still celebrated worldwide today.

8th June: Global Arab Celebrities

How were modern celebrities created? Dive into period magazines, records, films, and autobiographies and learn how Egyptian and Arab performers became international superstars, touring the world in the 1920s and 1930s, from Baghdad to New York.

15th June: Endings

Chart the various forces that led to the decline of Cairo’s interwar nightlife – from the rise of the film industry worldwide to the forces who sought to censor it, culminating in the Cairo Fire of 1952 which destroyed many of the bars and cabarets that had fuelled the entertainment world. Discover why the incredible history of Egyptian nightlife and culture more generally should be celebrated today as it was in the roaring 20s.

This program will take place live online with an opportunity to interact with the instructor.

Raphael Cormack has a PhD in Egyptian theatre from the University of Edinburgh and is currently a visiting researcher at Columbia University. He is an award-winning editor and translator and has written on Arabic culture for the London Review of Books and elsewhere.

How will the course be taught? Via Zoom. You will be sent the login details prior to the start of the course.

What methods of payment do you accept? Please use our online booking system (Go to ‘COURSES’ on the main menu of our website, select the course you are interested in and click ‘BOOK NOW’) to secure a seat on a course. You will need a debit or credit card to make a payment. Seats are reserved on a first come first serve basis.

What methods of payment do you accept? Please book for courses on our website above or call the Arab British Centre to pay by card over the phone.

Can I book a place and pay later? No, your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

What is your refund policy? Our courses rely on meeting minimum numbers to run, and are often over-subscribed, so the sooner you let us know you’ve changed your mind the better. We can then open your place up to someone else. Our rules on refunds are:

  • Full refund (minus Stripe booking fees) if you let us know up to 2 weeks before the start date of the course
  • 50% refund (minus Stripe booking fees) if you let us know 8-13 days before the start date of the course
  • No refund if you let us know 1 week or less before the start of the course

For every booking made on our website we have to pay Stripe a small fee. If you request a refund, this fee will be deducted from your refunded amount.

What happens if you cancel the course? We will endeavour to ensure courses are not cancelled but if this does happen we will contact you as quickly as we can to let you know and to arrange a full refund.

Please contact us if you have any further questions on 020 78321310 or info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk

Venue

Zoom

Organiser

The Arab British Centre