Face-Of: Ammar Sabban the first professional Saudi puppeteer and puppet builder.

Ammar Sabban
Updated 10 February 2019
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Face-Of: Ammar Sabban the first professional Saudi puppeteer and puppet builder.

  • He owns a company that designs and creates puppets to be used for live and video productions

JEDDAH: Ammar Sabban is the first professional Saudi puppeteer and puppet builder. He is the founder of 31 Workshop Ave. based in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. 

Established in 2013, the company designs and creates puppets to be used for live and video productions.

He has been working as the creative content manager and master puppeteer at Bidaya Media since 2016. Bidaya Media is the producer of Iftah Ya Simsim (Sesame Street) in the UAE. At Bidaya Media, Sabban is one of the leading content writers and developers of Iftah Ya Simsim TV show, and he also handles various responsibilities toward puppeteers, their availability, training, guidance, and coordination. 

Sabban is also the co-founder and chief creative officer of the MSTDFR Podcast Network. 

Before Iftah Ya Simsim, he produced two puppet shows on YouTube and created a puppet monster called “Afroott.” 

Sabban was mentored by several Muppet performers.

He began his career as an architect. Sabban holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from King Abdul Aziz University, and a master’s degree in the same field from Washington State University in the US.

Sabban served in jobs related to his field of study for 11 years including being a landscape architect at Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants, a design architect at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the director of architecture department at Dartec Engineering Consultants. 

However, in 2013 he decided to quit his job and became a freelance creative consultant and started to work on building his dream career as a puppeteer and voice actor.

During an interview with Arab News on the  50th anniversary of “Sesame Street,” Sabban said: “I’m living out my childhood dream.”

“Being part of the team and creating it came full circle because I spent most of my time watching these cartoons,” he added.


Crown prince award ‘will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges’

Updated 22 February 2019
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Crown prince award ‘will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges’

ARAB NEWS BEIJING: Leading academics and literary talents from Saudi Arabia and China will be honored under an award scheme sponsored by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan announced the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the Kingdom and China during a visit to King Abdul Aziz Public Library at Peking University in Beijing on Thursday.
The announcement was made on the eve of the Saudi crown prince’s visit to China, the latest stop on an Asian tour.
The cultural cooperation award will honor leading academics, translators and high-achievers from the Kingdom and China in the categories: Best scientific research in Arabic, best artistic work, best Chinese-Arabic book translation and vice versa, person of the year, and most influential person of the year in the cultural milieu.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said: “This partnership is in the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and represents the common commitment to build cultural bridges between the two countries, developing cultural exchange, and promoting artistic and academic opportunities for our citizens.”
He said the yearly award will promote language, literature, and Arabic and creative arts in China, and encourage cultural exchange.
The Kingdom and China have a long history of cultural cooperation, including the annual Arabic Arts Festival.
The King Abdul Aziz Public Library at Peking University was inaugurated in 2017 during King Salman’s official visit to China, where he received an honorary doctorate degree.