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In tough times, Egyptian theater troupe pushes boundaries

The Egyptian theater group Outa Hamra works with local disadvantaged communities to develop theater as a medium for expression and social change in the country.

By the middle of Outa Hamra's show at the Syrian Woman Association in Cairo, nearly all the women were in tears. By the end, they were singing patriotic Syrian songs and laughing in their seats.

It was a sunny Sunday in December and Outa Hamra (Red Tomato), an Egyptian theater troupe, had come to the association to perform one of their signature acts: a playback performance, in which they use music and acting to improvise stories shared by audience members. It started out light: What did they do that morning? Then it went deeper: What personal problems have they overcome?

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