“SEKEMs holistic approach to sustainable development and awareness raising deserves contemplation”, says Hamada Shousha, acting instructor at Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development (HU). “People can’t live only by working, eating and drinking. The integration of different kinds of arts to life can be the reason for a flourished community, like I see it in SEKEM.”
The 56-years old artist with a young vivid spirit had heard about Heliopolis University when it was just an idea. Shousha catched the attention of Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish during a performance of the German classical play “Faust” by Goethe that was presented by the Goethe Institute Egypt in 2007. He was playing the role of Mephistopheles, the devil. “I had an enriching talk with Dr. Ibrahim, who was thinking about establishing a university and asked me to work there.” First Hamada was sceptical. He rejected other teaching offers from well-known educational institutes as he is not sympathetic to the conventional way of teaching. But the holistic approach to education promoted by the HU convinced Hamada. Hence, five years later, when the HU finally opened its doors Hamada Shousha started his work as an acting instructor in the framework of the university’s Core Program, which is obligatory for all students to experience different kinds of arts and cultural activities.
The rebellious artist can look back to an exciting and unconventional life. He had the wish to leave his family conditions (he lived with his wealthy aunt in a small village in Egypt’s delta) already when he was just 17 years old to develop himself independently. Shousha moved to Cairo and studied dramatic arts and philosophy. This correlation had a great impact on his character. “Philosophy enlightened my mind tremendously. Actually all the schools of arts started by a philosophical idea, for instance the Surrealism Art, the Absurd or the Expressionism. Artists have to be aware of this fact”, Hamada Shousha says.
The Egyptian State Theater gave Hamada Shousha an honorary title when he was only 45 years old, which is an extraordinary appreciative gesture, as this title is normally given only to artists older than 60 years. However, the ambitious actor is convinced that continuous learning and searching is the only way to build an intellectual character. “I was always committed to attending various workshops to learn and practice. Now, I am happy to be an instructor myself and to pass my experience to students”, Shousha recounts. “I feel grateful to my teachers, who were treating me as their young brother.” And that is how he is trying to treat his students, SEKEM co-workers and colleagues now as well – in a friendly and familiar way.
“Theater is the father of arts”, a famous quote that Hamada Shousha likes to cite as it reveals his passion and devotion to the art of theater. One reason is the multiplicity of this art: “I can find everything in theater: narrating, singing and dancing”, he says. In 1990, Shousha even established an actors group by himself, the “Shousha Theater Troupe”, which presents a play every year autonomously, without governmental support. The troupe is joining many festivals all over the world and also received local and international awards.
For the occasion of SEKEMs 38th Anniversary, Hamada Shousha performed a comedian short skit with his colleague Tamer El-Gazzar. The two friends joined HU at the same time and also perform together on different stages in Egypt. “I tend more to tragedy while Tamer is putting his focus to comedy. This different preferences are perfect for our work with the students as they get impressions of the variety of theater”, the likable HU Instructor reports.
Besides his work at Heliopolis University, the active artist is involved to other theater performances that he is rehearsing at night. “I have different lives and I need this”, Hamada reveals. “I love my job but I need breaks and time to travel all over the world to watch all the different and fantastic kinds of art.” Hamada Shousha fully believes in the power of arts, its influence on societies and communities and its impact to the understanding between cultures. This is also what impresses him most in SEKEM. Hamada Shousha: “I wish the Egyptian society would value arts with all its types, just like it happens in SEKEM. I am sure it would have a great impact.”