Abu Dhabi: Nuriya Qazdarli, one of Algeria’s most accomplished theatre actresses, has died at the age of 99. Official and artistic circles in Algeria were in mourning on Monday.

The Algerian National Bureau of Culture and Information said in a statement: “With great sadness and sorrow, and with hearts believing in the judgment and destiny of God, we have received the news of the death of the late, God willing, the Algerian theatre icon, Nuriya Qazdarli.”

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The late artist, real name Bassem Khadija Ben Ayyad, was born in the city of Tiaret in northern Algeria in 1921 and married at an early age to the actor Mostafa Qazdarli.

She began her career in 1945 and later joined the National Theatre. She was credited along with actress Kulthum and other pioneers in changing filmmakers’ and society’s view of women’s work in theatre, where female roles were assigned to men.

She participated in about 200 plays, including ‘Rifles of Mother Karrar’, ‘Exception and Al Qaeda’, ‘An Actor Despite His Nose’, ‘Red Rose’, ‘The Ghoul’ and ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’.