Directed by Cindy Gendrich, the play will be performed on 31 March, 1, 2 and 5-8 April at Wake Forest University on the Tedford Stage in the Scales Fine Arts Center, Northern California, USA.
Written by Lauren Gunderson, Silent Sky is a play about life of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921), an American astronomer, and as it focuses on her relations with family and friends, it also depicts a passionate women scientist who worked at times when this field was heavily dominated by men.
The scenography was designed by Heba El-Koumy, an Egyptian artist, who won an international scenic design competition launched especially for Silent Sky.
The competition organised by Wake Forest University’s Department of Theatre and Dance invited young scenographers from around the globe to submit their designs. El-Koumy's design was chosen by an international panel of judges after reviewing concepts from set designers representing ten countries.
As the university troupe is in their final rehearsals, the play’s director, Cindy Gendrich, referred to El-Koumy as “a fantastic role model for our students — young, smart and inventive, but also a responsive and generous collaborator.”
Quoted by a local newspaper, the director praised El-Koumy’s “intellectual clarity, kindness, and grace.”
El-Koumy is considered one of the most talented scenic designers of her generation in Egypt.
In 2021, she was one of the five main winners of the Cairo International Exhibition of Unconventional Avant-Garde Stage Design, with the other scenographers being Esmail Dahlan (Palestine), Lee Chien-Hsien (Taiwan) and two designers from China, Haiyong Liu and Kedong Liu.
The exhibition was part of the 28th edition of the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre (CIFET).
El-Koumy's design was created for the highly successful Egyptian play Beit Al-Ashbah (The Ghost House), written and directed by Mahmoud Gamal. The performance was a production of the Youth Theatre, a product of the Start Your Dream workshop for youth in 2018.