Nicole Ayach and Hany Hommos, Playing in the Shadow of Nature

Nicole (Nini ) Ayach and Hany Hommos are part of a diverse puppetry troupe in Cairo, Egypt that’s using puppetry to inspire collective action around social and environmental issues. In their newest initiative, Playing in the Shadow of Nature, the troupe is using their skills to encourage awareness and dialogue on the ecological well-being of the Nile.

Although 97% of Egypt’s water supply is drawn from the Nile, popular discourse on aquatic ecology remains minimal resulting in widespread pollution from industrial and household wastes, agricultural runoff, and untreated sewage. Pollution levels have had a dramatic effect on community health, with the World Health Organization reporting that 13 percent of deaths of children under five years old are caused by unsafe drinking water.

Through Playing in the Shadow of Nature, Nini, Hany, and their fellow puppeteers have organized workshops in Cairo where local youth will research the ecology of the Nile and create shadow puppets to express what they’ve learned. Once completed, the troupe will draw on the workshops to produce a traditional shadow puppet show for performance at community centers throughout Cairo and Alexandria.

GRANT AWARD DATE: September 17, 2015