American Univesity of Beirut

Peter Shebaya

Peter Shebaya has been involved with Theater at AUB since his freshman days. From 1959-1965 he played lead roles in over twelve major productions (including Krapp’s Last Tape in Venezuela) and directed a number of student shows. In his spare time he went through pre-engineering courses in math and physics, pre-med courses for two years in biology and chemistry, focused on psychology and philosophy and earned his BA in philosophy. Turning to the socio-economic world, he spent two years at AUB and the University of Michigan winding up with an MA in economics from the latter institution.

In Michigan he was hired as a full acting member for five months at the outdoor Ypsilanti GreekTheater Festival, which brought together top international theater people from Greece, Yugoslavia, Australia, as well as America, in a splendid effort to vitalize the artistic and cultural scene.

Peter then spent two years in Bristol at the Old Vic Theatre School, acted at The University of Bristol and with the Old Vic Company.

Returning to Lebanon in 1968 he was hired by the AUB to help revitalize theater on campus and in the broader Ras Beirut community. From 1968-1975 he headed a semi-professional group which worked alongside of the Drama Club. Many productions followed, most notably, two joint efforts with (the now) LAU on their splendid Gulbenkian Stage: Sophocles’ Oedipus (1973) and Brecht’s Mother Courage (Spring, 1975-ushering in the endless wars!).

During the War-years from 1975-1991, Peter shifted to full-time teaching in what is now the AUB’s Civilization Sequence Program (aka“CS”). When hostilities subsided, he once again found himself committed to putting theater back on the map at AUB. Along with David Kurani he proceeded to mount yearly major spring productions from 1992-2010. These covered a broad spectrum, most memorable of which perhaps were two outdoor Shakespeare events on the Green Oval and an original rendering of The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Peter served as director of CVSP (“CS”) from 1997-2004 and oversaw its restructuring as part of the ongoing revision of the humanities at AUB. He continues to be heavily involved in that world.

His better half is Najwa Achkar, they co-produced Tarek, Mariam, Sirine, and Halim, and Peter was promoted to ranks of grandpa and dinosaur some years back.

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