Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts (Damascus)

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The Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts (Arabic: الْمَعْهَدُ الْعَالِي لِلْفُنُونِ الْمَسْرَحِيَّةِ‎, romanizedal-Maʿhad al-ʿĀlī li l-Funūn al-Masraḥīyah) was founded in Damascus, Syria, in 1977 by academics such as the playwright Saadallah Wannous, theatre critic Ghassan al-Maleh[1] or professor of theatre at Damascus University, Dr. Hannan Kassab Hassan.[2] The institute initiated a new phase in the development of theatre in Syria through the preparation of a new generation of actors and other specialisations of modern dramatic arts on an academic basis. The institute initially included five departments: Acting, Literary Criticism, Dramatic Arts, Scenography, and Theatre Techniques, with a department for Dance added later.

One of the notable artists of the young generation is Noura Mourad, specialised in dance and movement in theatre, who later also became a teacher at the institute.[3] She also is the director of Leish Troupe, an ensemble for movement theatre that won the prize for the best scenography in the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theater in 2000.

The institute has succeeded in rapidly making its mark on the theatre and dramatic arts scene of the Middle East, with performances having been presented in Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Germany and other countries.[4] In his academic study on the social position of intellectuals and market forces, exemplified by commercial TV in Syria, Adwan Ziad, a former professor at the institute, "explores how the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts (HIDA) in Damascus achieved an exceptional degree of prestige in Syrian cultural life. Although operating under a dictatorship in a conservative country, HIDA still enjoyed unusual margins of curricula autonomy and free expression in a country that repressed other cultural and educational sectors."[5]


The Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts is situated near Umayyad Square next to the Higher Institute of Music[6] and the Damascus Opera House.


  1. ^ ""The Birth of Modern Arab Theatre" by Maleh, Ghassan - UNESCO Courier, November 1997".[dead link]
  2. ^ "Hanan Kassab-Hassan - Goethe-Institut Belgien". www.goethe.de. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Noura Murad". Movement Research. 16 August 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Adwan, Ziad. "'The place of intellectuals' - The Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus between Dictatorship and the Market. Journal of Global Theatre History, vol. 4, no. 1, 2020". Journal of Global Theatre History. ISSN 2509-6990. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  6. ^ "International Directory of Music and Music Education Institutions". idmmei.org. Retrieved 18 July 2021.

Coordinates: 33°30′44″N 36°16′44″E / 33.51222°N 36.27889°E / 33.51222; 36.27889