Hanaa Abdel-Fattah, an iconic figure in theatre and culture in Egypt, passed away on Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. The famous theatre director and occasional actor was a well-respected figure both in his native Egypt as well as in Poland where he studied at the state Institute of Theatrical Arts in Warsaw. His full name was Mohamed Hanaa Abdel-Fattah Metwaly, but he was best-known to audiences as Hanaa Abdel-Fattah. He spent years in the theatre in Poland and has translated key works from Polish to Arabic, including the herculean task of translating the poetry of Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz.
After earning his PhD from Warsaw University, Abdel-Fattah returned to Cairo and taught at the city’s Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts.
The professor of theatre was among the foremost promoters of Polish culture in Egypt as well as being a pioneer in the cultural dialogue of both countries. He translated and directed many Polish plays for the Egyptian stage and was honoured by both Poland and Egypt and given prestigious awards and medals for his contributions to culture in both countries. Abdel-Fattah was 68 years old.