Riyadh Season comes to a close with ‘Leila, the Land of Imagination’ show

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The Riyadh Season came to a conclusion on Thursday night with Balich Worldwide Shows’ one-night production of “Leila, the Land of Imagination.” (AN Photo/Hala Tashkandi)
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The Riyadh Season came to a conclusion on Thursday night with Balich Worldwide Shows’ one-night production of “Leila, the Land of Imagination.” (AN Photo/Hala Tashkandi)
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The Riyadh Season came to a conclusion on Thursday night with Balich Worldwide Shows’ one-night production of “Leila, the Land of Imagination.” (AN Photo/Hala Tashkandi)
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Updated 16 January 2020

Riyadh Season comes to a close with ‘Leila, the Land of Imagination’ show

  • The hour-and-a-half long show featured an impressive number of technical, musical, and physical feats
  • 488 performers, 293 crew members, and even two horses gave the performance of a lifetime

RIYADH: The Riyadh Season came to a conclusion on Thursday night with Balich Worldwide Shows’ one-night production of “Leila, the Land of Imagination.”

The hour-and-a-half long show featured an impressive number of technical, musical, and physical feats, wowing the Riyadh crowds.

488 performers, 293 crew members, and even two horses gave the performance of a lifetime at the King Fahd International Stadium.

“Your journey is about to begin, Leila. Close your eyes and dream,” said the narrator, and the show began. The show detailed a night of protagonist Leila’s dreams, played with great skill and passion by fresh Saudi face Noura Al-Abeed.

Leila, who represents a “new Saudi generation who live a changing reality,” spent a night traversing Saudi Arabia in a dream, taking viewers on a magical journey across the beautiful landscape of the country.

“No one can believe what I’m seeing. My land, stunning, elegant, magical,” Leila cried in a monologue, earning cheers and applause from the audience.

A scene representing the famous battle of Al Masmak Fort, with a projection of the late King AbdulAziz featured on the giant inflatable castle, garnered huge cheers from the audience, as a traditional war song played along with a Ardah, or war dance.

The show was also punctuated with incredible special effects, with firecrackers going off at intervals to represent thunder during the rain scene, or, an aerial dancer who twirled in the heart of a waterfall, and even a giant, illuminated moon, that trailed across the stage, even serving as a hot air balloon that carried Leila across the desert.

The costumes, props, and stage design were all created to reflect Saudi culture. Over the course of the show, the harsh desert transformed beautifully into a stunning oasis, with palm trees sprouting and lakes forming.

Hundreds of costumes were created for the performance, which ranged from representations of desert animals like oryx and camels, to traditional Saudi men and women’s garb depending on the scene.

The music was a mixture of traditional Saudi beats and more modern music, with each region in Saudi Arabia getting to showcase a traditional dance and traditional costume toward the end of the show.

The show had many on social media calling for an extension, saying that the performance was wasted on a single night.

“I wish more people could get the opportunity to see it, it was so beautiful,” tweeted one showgoer.

“I wanted to go so badly but I was busy tonight. Now that I’ve seen the posts on social media I wish I had gone. It looks stunning,” lamented another Twitter user.

The show ended with a simple, but strong message: anything is possible if you can just imagine it. As Leila’s final monologue says, “I never thought the Land of Imagination would be my own home country.”


Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

Sultan Al-Zaidi (L) and Fahad Al-Jubeir.
Updated 21 September 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

  • Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents

JEDDAH: Alkhobar municipality, along with Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing company Siemens, has been hailed as a role model for management excellence and business continuity.
The municipality has been awarded international certification for its excellence in managing crises and risks under difficult circumstances, in recognition of its administrative achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quality Austria (QA) awarded Alkhobar Municipality and Siemens with ISO 22301 and ISO 9001 certificates, which are concerned with business continuity management, especially during the pandemic.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent and nongovernmental body. Its standards are internationally agreed by experts and are seen as the best way of doing something.
Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents.
Its mayor, Sultan bin Hamid Al-Zaidi, said that the municipality’s ISO achievement was in line with achieving the goals of the Eastern Province municipality. He added that the aim was to make Alkhobar a distinguished city, like other places in the province.
The Mayor of the Eastern Province, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Jubeir, said that municipalities were keen to implement the most advanced administrative systems and provide the best services to beneficiaries.
“This comes in line with the objectives of municipal transformation, part of the National Transformation Program 2020 of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan which states that the Kingdom, with its outputs and services, should provide an international role model of quality and mastery, and raise the level of services provided by services and economic development agencies and enterprises,” Al-Jubeir told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.

He added that the municipality had launched initiatives and programs seeking to make the Eastern Province and its governorates pioneers in administrative and service qualities, as well as improving public services.
According to QA’s regional manager, Dr. Mohamed Hassan, business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.
“These instructions are then transformed into applicable programs and strategies at the amana (provincial government) level,” he wrote in an article. “Since the Eastern Province is, in this respect, the leading province in the Kingdom, the guidelines are finalized in consultation with the EP’s mayor, Fahad Al-Jubeir.”
The article gave examples of Alkhobar’s strategic emergency plans and said it had made arrangements with companies such as Al-Yamama for the prevention of damage from flash floods or storms.
It added that other public contractors, such as Nabatat, ensured that green spaces and parks in the city remained relaxing destinations for people, even on exceptionally hot summer days.
“A successful example of service digitization is the Balady software, which makes all municipality services available to citizens online. Moreover, the Balagat software offers a service in which complaints and suggestions from citizens can be reported and followed up online,” the article said. “If a complaint is not solved within 24 hours, it is automatically forwarded to the mayor of the Eastern Province, Al-Jubeir.”
The ministry’s foresight in initiating plans and preparations, the online software systems used and the high-quality standards in the municipality all helped in increasing the effectiveness of the business continuity management system.