Riyadh celebrates first Saudi Women’s Day

Shoura member Kawther Al-Arbash, Saudi actresses Layla Al-Salman and Marwa Mohamed take part in an open panel discussion at the King Fahd Cultural Center. (AN photo)
Updated 07 February 2017
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Riyadh celebrates first Saudi Women’s Day

RIYADH: Riyadh celebrates its first Saudi Women’s Day, which started on Wednesday and will last for three days, with a large turnout expected.

The event, organized and hosted by the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, will include women’s operetta for a female audience only.
“We want to celebrate the Saudi woman and her successful role, and remind people of her achievements in education, culture, medicine literature and other areas,” Mohammed Al-Saif, general supervisor of the center, told Arab News.
The event comes in light of directives from the minister of culture and information to highlight the leading role of Saudi women in all fields.
Al-Saif said the center will be busy with activities for women only, but families are welcome to attend outdoor activities for children.
He added that the center’s lobby will contain bazaars and booths that showcase the works of Saudi artists and photographers.
He said the operetta will be in the evening and will mark Saudi women’s achievements over the past 50 years.
The event’s schedule includes the participation of Saudi princesses in panel discussions. On the first day, Princess Al-Jawhara bint Fahad Al-Saud discussed women’s role in education.
On the second day, Princess Adila bint Abdullah Al-Saud will talk about the Kingdom’s heritage. She is a well-known advocate of women’s right to drive, women’s health awareness and their legal rights. She has spoken out against domestic violence, and has supported women’s groups and organizations.
Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, the president’s undersecretary for the female section at the General Authority for Sports, will address the importance of sports in the lives of Saudi women.
There were no attempts to stop the center’s artistic programs by any party, said Al-Saif, who expressed gratitude for “heartwarming support and encouragement.”


Cirque du Soleil prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

Updated 8 min 11 sec ago
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Cirque du Soleil prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

RIYADH: A joint press conference between the MBC Group, the General Entertainment Authority, and Cirque du Soleil was held at King Fahd Stadium on Thursday afternoon to answer media questions and give some details about Cirque du Soleil’s upcoming special performance, part of Saudi Arabia’s 88th National Day celebrations. The show is slated to be one of the biggest performed by the Cirque and their first in Saudi Arabia. It is a one-night-only, exclusive event, designed especially for this occasion.
Daniel Fortin, vice president of Creation at Cirque du Soleil, teased the audience with a few details of the upcoming show. “With a cast and crew of over 300, this is one of the biggest shows we’ve ever done,” he said.
“Without giving too much of the plot away, the story is centered around the sun, and takes place from sunset to sunrise. Everything from the costumes to the stage props was created as a homage to Saudi culture. You’ll see a lot of Bedouin influences in the staging and in the music. We drew inspiration from a variety of sources, such as traditional Bedouin tents, desert scenery, even the stadium itself.”
The show has been in development for six months, and the cast and crew have been preparing for the show at the King Fahd International Stadium since the beginning of August.
The show will contain new technology, and 16 unprecedented acrobatic acts. However, Fortin refused to share too many details. “You’ll just have to see what we have planned at the show.” He said. “But I think you will be impressed. We’re doing things we’ve never done before.”
Tickets to the show sold out in less than 48 hours after their release; an incredible feat as the show has allocated more than 27,000 seats for the performance. Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, spokesperson for the General Entertainment Authority, was pleased— but not entirely surprised— by the public’s reaction to news of the show. “We felt that variety in the types of events we brought to Saudi Arabia was important,” he said, “and we conducted a number of research workshops to determine what sort of events would be well-received by the public. Cirque du Soleil was mentioned frequently in our research, so we’re very happy to have had the opportunity to bring them here.”
MBC head of events Omar Al Radi also expects a big response to the televising of the show, which he estimates will break records. “We’re broadcasting the show live on both our local and international channels, such as those in Europe and in America.” he said.
“We’re expecting over 200 million views. Probably record-breaking numbers. MBC is proud to have been part of bringing this historic event to Saudi Arabia, and we can’t wait for you to see it.”