fire generic Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: A massive fire has gutted the iconic Nassibian Studio Theatre in Cairo, an important part of Egyptian cinematic history, local media reported.

The studio, which was established in the 1930s, is located in the Faggala neighbourhood in the centre of the Egyptian capital and is one of the most prominent symbols of art and culture in Egypt.

The exact reason behind the fire is not yet known, but the Public Prosecution has opened an investigation.

The studio was founded by the head of the Armenian community in Egypt at the time, Hrant Nassibian, who sold it after the July 23 revolution in 1952, just before his emigration. It was rented until it was bought by the Renaissance Society (Jesuit Cairo).

The studio witnessed the filming of 140 movies, the most famous of which are: “The Bride of the Nile,” “The Fatwa,” “Shafiqa and Metwally,” “Something in My Chest,” “The Grandson,” and “Bab Al Hadid.”

Dr. Marwa Abdullah El Sayed, director of the Jesuit Cinema School in Cairo, said the cultural, artistic and historical value of the Nassibian Studio is “very great.” She told Asharq Al Awsat, “It contributed to the development of the Egyptian film industry, and the Renaissance Society was able over many years to develop and renovate it, whether with equipment or the stage, to serve a larger number of artists over the years and to make shows available to a larger audience.”

Hisham Aslan, media advisor to the Renaissance Society and director of the Jesuit Cultural Salon, said the Nassibian Theatre’s fire has caused both practical and moral losses.

“In addition to its history, it is closely linked to Egypt’s film industry, and is open to hosting independent theatre groups, and the street theatre, in addition to many events and meetings of the Renaissance Society.”