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

Ammar Sabban
Updated 10 February 2019

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.


350,000 books to feature at Jeddah fair

Updated 14 November 2019

350,000 books to feature at Jeddah fair

JEDDAH: Hundreds of authors from around the world are preparing to take part in a prestigious Saudi book festival.

The Jeddah International Book Fair, to be staged in South Obhur from Dec. 11 to 21, will feature more than 350,000 volumes to cater to all reading tastes.

Now in its fifth edition, the cultural event, run under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, will see the participation of 400 Saudi, Arab and international publishing houses from 40 different countries.

Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, who is head of the fair’s supreme committee, has been coordinating the organization of the event which will include book-signing sessions by 200 authors.

The exhibition, occupying 30,000 square meters, is one of the biggest specialized expos in the Kingdom, and aims to promote reading and the cultural environment.

The fair will also include a program of seminars, lectures and indoor and outdoor theater productions, along with documentary films for families and children, and workshops in visual arts, photography and Arabic calligraphy.

The Jeddah fair is supported by Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, who believes it reflects the city’s culture and traditions, along with backing from Minister of Media Turki Al-Shabanah. SPA Jeddah