Photographer's Note

Art Nouveau building of National Theatre

The Ministry of Culture decided in 1988 that the headquarters of the National Theatre was to be located in the Khaznadar palace, in the Tunis quarter of Halfaouine, near Bab Souika. Upon the designation, the palace was remamed Palace Theater (قصر المسرح). Built in the mid-nineteenth century by the Grand Vizier Mustafa Khaznadar, the palace served from 1903 to 1986 as an elementary school.

The Tunisian theater was mostly developed between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century during the French protectorate. Theatres grew up such as the French Theater, Politeama Rossini, Arena, Theater Tunisia, the Gringa, Paradiso, etc. Some wooden built theaters saw their premises destroyed by fire while others have simply changed their function. Only one has survived keeping its primary use, the Municipal Theater of Tunis. In over a century of existence, the theater has hosted big names of the Tunisian and international theatrical scene, such as Sarah Bernhardt, Pauline Carton, Gérard Philipe and Jean Marais to mention a few. On November 7, 1962, Habib Bourguiba, whose brother is a playwright, devoted his speech to this art. which he considers "a powerful means of disseminating culture and a most effective means of popular education". From this date, November 7 is regarded as the Tunisian National Day of drama.
In 1970, under the leadership of the actor Aly Ben Ayed, Caligula by Albert Camus was translated into Arabic and the play was a great success. Other works written by Habib Boularès such as Murad III or The Time of Buraq retained the themes of bloody violence. Increasingly more and more shows are restricted for the benefit of a more sophisticated audience. The New Theater of Tunis grew up with Mohamed Driss as one of the most prolific authors. In 1988, Driss was appointed head of the Tunisian National Theater (TNT) and took charge of renovating a neglected theatre, Le Paris, located in the heart of Tunis. He acquired a stage, the team of modern architects and renamed it the "Fourth Art". Opened in 1996, it alternates between cycles of TNT theater and ballet, circus and song. Each cultural season lasts from October 1 to June 30 and the theatre has hosted more than 80 theatrical performances.


Tunis (Arabic: تونس‎, Tūnis) is the capital of the Tunisian Republic and also the Tunis Governorate, with a population of 1,200,000 in 2008. It is Tunisia's largest city.
Situated on a large Mediterranean gulf, (the Gulf of Tunis), behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette (Halq al Wadi), the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At the centre of more modern development (colonial era and post) lies the old medina. Beyond this section lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, and Sidi Bou Said.
The medina is found at the centre of the city: a dense agglomeration of alleys and covered passages, full of intense scents and colours, boisterous and active trade, a surfeit of goods on offer ranging from leather to plastic, tin to the finest filigree, tourist souvenirs to the works of tiny crafts-shops.
As the capital city of the country Tunis is the center of Tunisian commercial activity, as well as focus of political and administrative life in the country. The expansion of the Tunisian economy in the last decades is reflected in the booming development of the outer city where one can see clearly the social challenges brought about by rapid modernization in Tunisia. (Source: planetware & tunisguide & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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