Entertainment in Egypt

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Makan

    The Egyptian Centre for Culture & Art runs this intimate space dedicated to folk music. Don’t miss the traditional women’s zar, a sort of musical trance and healing ritual on Wednesday nights (doors open at 8.30pm). Tuesday evening has various performances of folk music, often an Egyptian-Sudanese jam session (doors open at 7.30pm). To find the space, walk north on Sharia Mansour from Saad Zaghloul metro. Advance booking is a good idea due to limited space.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    El Dammah Theatre

    Regular Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows by musical ensembles such as Rango, a trancey Sudanese folk group, and the El Tanboura Band, playing simsimiyya, a musical style from the Suez Canal region, as well as other folk bands from Egypt (check the website for listings).

  • Entertainment in Alexandria

    Teatro Eskandariya

    Bustling arts centre in the heart of Alexandria, offering live gigs, contemporary theatre, film screenings and art exhibitions. There is a book and craft shop, a restaurant serving stews and salads, and a cool cafe.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Cairo Opera House

    Performances by the Cairo Opera and the Cairo Symphony Orchestra are held in the 1200-seat Main Hall, where jacket and tie are required for men (travellers have been known to borrow them from staff). The Small Hall and Open Air Theatre are casual. Check the website for the schedule; note that some events are at a theatre near Abdeen Palace, or in Alexandria.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Darb 1718

    This super-cool creative space aims to be a ‘trampoline’ for contemporary art, which gives an idea of the fun to be found here – there's a regular program of concerts by Egyptian bands and movie screenings at night as well as a schedule of creative workshops. During the day there’s sometimes an art show on. For listings check out the website. To reach Darb, walk south on Sharia Mar Girgis and follow the road as it bears left. At the end of the street, turn left on Sharia Qasr Al Shama and then turn right two streets on – Darb 1718 is at the end.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    El Sawy Culture Wheel

    Egyptian rock and jazz bands play at this lively and very active complex of a dozen performance spaces and galleries tucked under a bridge overpass. There are also regular performances by the El Sakia Puppet Theatre (great for kids) and various seminar events. The main entrance is on the south side of 26th of July; there’s a nice outdoor cafe too. You can book seats for nearly all events on the website.

  • Entertainment in Southern Nile Valley

    Sound & Light Show

    Although the commentary is predictably cheesy, you really can't beat strolling through Philae's temple at night. Show times, with commentary in alternate languages, have a habit of changing, so it's best to double-check the timetable with the Aswan tourist office. Shows operate with a minimum of seven spectators; at least one per day will be in English when running.

  • Entertainment in Abu Simbel

    Sound & Light Show

    A sound-and-light show is performed nightly at Abu Simbel. Headphones are provided, allowing visitors to listen to the commentary in various languages. While the text is flowery and forgettable, the laser show projected on to the temples is stunning and well worth the detour. Shows are only held with a minimum of 10 spectators; check with the tourist office.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Cairo Puppet Theatre

    Keeping Cairene kids entertained since 1959, this is the Arab world's biggest puppet theatre. Shows are in Arabic but are colourful and animated enough to entertain all ages. It's a bit tricky to locate; take the fenced-in footpath that runs around the south of Ezbekiyya Gardens, turn left at the mosque and duck down the first alleyway on your left.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Al Tannoura Egyptian Heritage Dance Troupe

    Egypt’s only Sufi dance troupe – more raucous and colourful than the better-known white-clad Turkish dervishes – puts on a mesmerising performance three times weekly at the Wikala of Al Ghouri just off Sharia Al Azhar. It’s a great opportunity to see one of the medieval spaces in use; arrive about an hour ahead to secure a seat.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Cairo Jazz Club

    The Cairo Jazz Club has kept up with the beat, and it has one of the city’s liveliest stages, with modern Egyptian folk, electronica, fusion and more, seven nights a week, usually starting around 10pm. You must book a table ahead (online is easiest), and no one under 25 is admitted.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Netherlands-Flemish Institute

    This excellent cultural centre hosts Sunday evening films (7.30pm), ranging from Dutch art-house features to the latest works by young Egyptian directors (all with English subtitles), plus weekly lectures on Thursdays (6pm), often in English, and regular exhibitions.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    El Genaina

    Al Azhar Park’s 300-seat open-air theatre hosts touring artists from overseas, big-name stars from the Middle East and local Egyptian bands and musicians. Shows are often free (though you must pay the park entrance fee). Check the Facebook page for listings.

  • Entertainment in Aswan

    Palace of Culture

    Between October and February/March, Aswan’s folkloric dance troupe sporadically performs Nubian tahtib (dance performed with wooden staves) and songs depicting village life at the Palace of Culture. Call ahead to check about performances.

  • Entertainment in Alexandria

    Jesuit Cultural Center

    Very active cultural centre offering contemporary theatre, film screenings, contemporary art exhibitions and music performances, of Egyptian artists and those from around the world. There is a small cafe on the grounds as well as a school for film.

  • Entertainment in Alexandria

    Alexandria Centre of Arts

    This active cultural centre, housed in a whitewashed villa, hosts contemporary arts exhibitions, poetry readings and occasional free concerts in its theatre. There is also an art studio, a library and a cinema on the 1st floor.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Goethe Institut

    Seminars and lectures in German on Egyptology and other topics, plus visiting music groups, art exhibitions and film screenings.The library has more than 15,000 (mainly German) titles.

  • Entertainment in Cairo

    Istituto Italiano Di Cultura

    One of Cairo's most active cultural centres, the Italian institute hosts a busy program of art house films plus lectures (sometimes in English) and art exhibitions, and has a library.

  • Entertainment in Hurghada

    El Sawy Culture Wheel

    An offshoot of the Cairo-based cultural and performance space, El Sawy stages music and theatre performances and other events and activities for children and adults.

  • Entertainment in Alexandria

    Alexandria Opera House

    The former Sayed Darwish Theatre has been refurbished and now this lovely, frivolous building houses the city’s modestly proportioned but splendid opera house.