ABU SALEM, FRANCOIS (1951-2011)

A Theatre Director

Born in Jerusalem in 1951 to a French mother and a Palestinian father; grew up in Jerusalem; attended a Jesuit college in Beirut; was engaged as an actor to the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris in 1968; returned to Jerusalem in the early 1970s, worked as actor, director and author; established Al-Hakawati (today Palestinian National Theater) in Jerusalem in 1977; transformed the - Nuzha Cinema in Jerusalem into the first drama theater in Palestine in 1983 and became its Artistic Director; inaugurated a cafe-theater / cabaret in the theater in 1987; directed in Hebrew Doron Tavori’s The White Sect at the Haifa Municipal Theater the same year; co-wrote and directed The Story of Kufur Shamma in 1988, which toured Europe, the USA, the Arab World and Latin America for three years; other plays he co-wrote, staged or directed, and went on tour with include In Search of Omar Khayyam, Passing by the Crusades (1991), Saint Genet en Coulisses, Conference of Birds (1992-93), and Jericho in the Year Zero (1994); in 1995, filmed Gates to the City, a documentary on Jerusalem; returned to France the same year; wrote and performed in Motel, directed Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, in 1997-98; received the Palestine Prize in 1998; more recent works include Shams (1999), Carmen, Roméo et Juliette (2000-1), Shams & Co. (2000-1), the rock opera Qui est fou? (Who is Mad?) (2002), He is Not Dead (2002), and The Epic of Gilgamesh (2003); took a Sabbatical in 2004 and studied Psychology; re-staged in 2005, acting in a Palestinian version of the epic Gilgamesh 3

FRANCOIS ABU-SALEM