Program News

Egyptian Radio Show Interview with Ian Batterham, talking about his musical stage King Farouk and his mistress Camelia [ 26 February 2018 ]

Jerry Guirguis interviews Ian Batterham, stage musical writer : King Farouk and his mistress Camelia, on 96.5FM – Egyptian radio show Melbourne Australia, [ Monday 26th February 2018, English Edition, 8:30pm ].


Hi and Welcome……….

Tell us about what Ian is doing in Canberra, ? You’re a Song writer, theatre director

I am a guitar player with a history of working in bands in Canberra - often writing songs. I became interested in the idea of writing a stage musical about 4 years ago.


What’s your fascination about Egypt ?

Being very interested in Egypt I remembered a story I had read about in the book 'The Last Pharaoh' which is about Farouk. A couple of pages of the book are about Camelia and her affair with Farouk. I felt it was a great story and could be the basis of my musical.


Tell us about stage musical ?

Camelia is written as a two-act musical. It has been developed with the assistance of the local Street Theatre in Canberra who have recently hosted a week-long workshop where a small orchestra, choir and principal performers worked through Camelia. The work still needs some refinement and it is hoped to organise a more involved workshop in the future. This will come at some cost and financial sponsors are being sought.


Camelia is based on the true story of a mixed-race girl named Liliane Cohen, born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1929. Her well-off family was impoverished when her debt-ridden father ran off. She left school and took up waitressing. She was discovered by movie director Ahmed Salim who took her to Cairo to be an actress; she also became his mistress. Salim was a violent and jealous man.


Tell us about the Love story [ King Farouk and Camelia ] ?

One night Salim took Camelia to the Auberge Des Pyramides in Cairo to show her off. King Farouk was also at the nightclub and used his power to get her alone and seduce her. They began an affair but he eventually revealed himself to be a spoilt and fickle man – their relationship cooled. This set her career back and she had a period of hard times. Eventually her movie career took off and as Camelia she became a movie star. At the height of her popularity she was summoned by Farouk to France to sing.


Is there a tragedy ?

Her plane crashed in the desert killing all aboard.


You said there was a conspiracy theory, What was it ?

Rumours abound of a murder plot: was Camelia pregnant to Farouk? or a Zionist spy?



Jerry Guirguis


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