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.