ATTOCK: Madeeha Gauhar, a feisty artist, playwright, social activist and director of the Ajoka Theatre breathed her last on April 25th at the age of 62, losing a three-year battle against cancer. Undeniably, her death is a major setback for the growth of theatre in Pakistan. Born on September 21st, 1956 in Karachi, Madeeha Gauhar had graduated in theatre sciences from the University of London and had also done her master’s in English Literature. She, along with her writer, director and producer husband Shahid Nadeem, founded Ajoka Theatre in 1983 in Lahore.
Ajoka staged various skits and plays based on varying social themes. Madeeha herself performed for Ajoka in Asia and Europe, which increase her popularity internationally. Through her theatre, she highlighted women’s issues in particular. Due to her significant work for social welfare and women’s empowerment in particular, Madeeha was praised from even across borders. Moreover, she was honoured with the International Theatre Pasta Award and Prince Claus Fund Award, aimed at promotion of cultural expression in developing countries. She was also awarded the ‘Pride of Performance’ for her outstanding work.
A play ‘Burqavaganza’ written and directed by her husband in 2007 about Muslim women donning Burqa sparked a massive controversy and was then banned by the government of the time.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2018.