Actor dreams of second chance as Somalia rebuilds its theater

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Somalia national theatre in Mogadishu

Somalilandsun – Abdulle Abdi Mohamud stands outside Somalia’s National Theater seven years after a suicide bomb attack shut it down, and dares to dream of an unlikely second act for the venue – and his own acting career.

Around him, builders heave loads of cement, saw at wooden scaffolding and shift piles of rubble as they prepare to reopen the building in May, even as the Islamist insurgency rages on.

Organizers say they will premiere a classic Somali musical extravaganza titled “Caretaker Government”, though precise details of the production are still under wraps.

Mohamud is hoping to get a role – a comic role.

“Although I grew old, I am still strong … I will act better than before,” says the graying 59-year-old, who performed in the theater several times before its dramatic closure.

“In the past, we have been fleeing and thinking about survival. Now people want entertainment and plays … We have hope now.”

Hope is a precious commodity in Somalia, which has been mired in turmoil for decades – as has its national theater.

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