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Birth pangs of Saudi theater.

Summary: JEDDAH: It is not a distant possibility that women in Jeddah may be able to watch theatrical shows which, until recently were limited to students of King Abdulaziz University (KAU).


This was stated by the dean of students' affairs in the university, Dr. Abdullah Mahraji, while talking to Arab News about the drama activities in the university in line with women's theatrical shows which were recently held in a number of cities in the Kingdom.

"The theatrical activities in KAU are not limited to male students only as some people claim. We cannot say the theatrical activities are gender-based," he said.

Mahraji said the university's women students participate in the heritage club and in the university's various events.

"We are inviting women from outside to attend the female theatrical activities in the university," he said.

On the other hand, stage director Osman Fallatah played down the idea of a special theater for women.

"This idea will not bear fruits in the absence of serious studies to activate the theater," he said.

The director said seeking the help of actresses from neighboring Gulf countries in theatrical activities here and the lack of well-written plays are indicators that the birth of a serious theatrical movement in the Kingdom is not in the foreseeable future.

"We should have an active theater before we classify them into masculine or feminine theater," he added.

Meanwhile, dramatists, who preferred not to be named, criticized the reluctance of the Ministry of Culture and Information to sponsor the theatrical movement in the Kingdom and said in the light of this, the movement is left for societies of culture and arts all over the Kingdom.

They also questioned if these societies were able to adopt the female theater within their various committees.

Arab News took their question to Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Information for Cultural Affairs Abdullah Al-Jasir.

He said the theatrical activities are the responsibility of the society of stage actors and the societies of culture and arts. "The ministry sponsors some male and female plays during our national events," Al-Jasir added.

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Oct 1, 2010
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