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Syed Jamil Ahmed

Syed Jamil Ahmed (b. 1955) is a a renowned director and scenographer in theatre and Professor at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Dhaka. He trained at the National School of Drama (India), obtained his MA at the University of Warwick (UK), and his PhD at the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh). His production credits credits at home in Bangladesh as well as in India, Pakistan, and the US include The Wheel (Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 1990), Bishad Sindhu (Dhaka, 1992-3), Ek Hazar Aur Ek Thi Rate (Karachi, 1998), Behular Bhasan (Dhaka, 2004, 2006 and 2010), Pahiye (New Delhi, 2006), Shyamar Udal (Kolkata, 2013), Rizwan (Dhaka, 2017) and Jiban O Rajnaitik Bastabata (Dhaka, 2019). His signature brio has evolved from a refashioning of traditional-Bengali theatrical vocabulary and indigenous archetypes for modern theatre to a comingling of the visual-metaphoric with the multilinear narratorial techniques, giving shape to a unique post-dramatic inscription.

Syed Jamil Ahmed believes theatre is a representation of life. He feels that theatre does not have any specific norm; theatre never confines him as it does not have any rules that he has to abide by. After his career in theatre began, he never had to look back.

Ridwan Intisaar Mahbub - The Daily Star

Ahmed founded the Department of Theatre and Music (now Department of Theatre and Performance Studies) at the University of Dhaka in 1994 and served as its Chair till 1997. He has over 60 research articles to his credit (in English and Bengali, as well as translations in Korean, Chinese, French and Norwegian). Some of these have been published in TDR: The Drama Review, New Theatre Quarterly, Asian Theatre Journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, South Asian Popular Culture, and Research in Drama Education. His book-length publications in English are Acinpakhi Infinity: Indigenous Theatre in Bangladesh (2000), In Praise of Niranjan: Islam Theatre, and Bangladesh (2001), Reading Against the Orientalist Grain: Performance and Politics Entwined with a Buddhist Strain (2008), and Applied Theatricks: Essays in Refusal (2013). Currently, he is working on a book-length publication on folkloristics of Bangladesh. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, and has served as a visiting faculty at the Antioch College (USA), King Alfred’s University (UK), San Francisco City College (USA), and Jadavpur University (India).


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