Performing arts in Saudi Arabia take center stage in new development strategy

Performing arts in Saudi Arabia take center stage in new development strategy
(Ministry of Culture)
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Updated 05 May 2021

Performing arts in Saudi Arabia take center stage in new development strategy

Performing arts in Saudi Arabia take center stage in new development strategy
  • Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission aims to ‘create inspiring performances with exceptional talents on every stage.’
  • Its mission is to “develop and promote the theater and performing arts sector by empowering Saudi talents to build successful careers’

RIYADH: The Theater and Performing Arts Commission has finalized its strategy for the development of the sector in Saudi Arabia, in line with the framework established by the National Strategy for Culture.

It was formulated after an in-depth analysis of the state of the theater and performing arts in the Kingdom. The commission also carried out international benchmarking comparisons and drew on a number of knowledge sources, including more than 50 documents, more than 20 interviews with stakeholders and local and international experts, and opinion polls covering various segments of Saudi society.

The studies identified the challenges facing the development of theater and the performing arts in the Kingdom, mainly relating to: limited talent-development programs; a lack of basic infrastructure; poor funding; the low-tier technologies available for use in performances; a lack of advanced governance to help achieve higher community participation; insufficient audience-engagement measurement tools; and a lack of licenses for sector-related activities and professions.

The strategy defines the scope of the sector, which takes in all forms of performing arts including theater, dance, circus shows, stand-up comedy, street performances, motion performances, and opera. It also encompasses venues, content, production, and the prevalence of the culture of performing arts in the Kingdom.

The aim of the commission’s vision is to “create inspiring performances with exceptional talents on every stage.”

Its mission is “to develop and promote the theater and performing arts sector by empowering Saudi talents to build successful careers and create inspiring content.”

The commission has set five strategic objectives: to enhance the quantity and diversity of content; increase and diversify local production; ensure access to the theater and performing arts sector; raise the level of appreciation among the public and practitioners; and generate audience demand.

To achieve these objectives, the commission has designed initiatives under several guiding principles that aim to address the main challenges, create an effective theater space for Saudi talent, ensure the transformation of the sector into a productive industry that contributes to economic growth, promote culture as a way of life, and enhance levels of professionalism and creativity.

The commission will implement 26 initiatives in stages between now and 2030 to serve and develop the sector. They fall under six guiding principles:

Talent development, which includes eight initiatives: education, training and talent-discovery; school theater; house of Ardha and house of Samri; cultural business incubator; theater academy; career development initiative; sector graduate recruitment; and sector awards.

Sector infrastructure development includes three initiatives: upgrading and activating infrastructure; national theater; and the Riyadh theater district.

The funding principle also has three initiatives: supporting local production; supporting processes of holding and hosting shows; and financing events and content.

Modern technology encompasses two initiatives: an innovation-support program; and multi-screen initiative.

The audience principle includes seven initiatives: subsidizing ticket prices; measuring audience satisfaction; developing theater criticism; raising awareness of local sector works; international awareness; stimulating community participation; launching programs for tourists; and international communication.

The governance initiatives are: activating the commission; activating civil society institutions; working with associations; and facilitating licensing procedures.”

The Theater and Performing Arts Commission will use its strategy to develop the entire performing arts sector. It aims to serve the needs of artists, investors and practitioners, especially through the provision of educational and training courses, with the target of producing about 4,500 graduate performers, about 4,200 qualified trainees, and discovering emerging talents in the field.

The efforts are in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plans to develop the cultural sector, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.


Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 

Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 
Updated 28 min 57 sec ago

Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 

Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 
  • New procedures will come into effect on Aug. 9

RIYADH: The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has issued a new circular to all airlines, both public and private, operating from the Kingdom’s airports updating the procedures for citizens’ travel outside Saudi Arabia.

The circular stipulates that airlines can carry citizens on international flights, provided that they have received all doses of one of the anti-coronavirus vaccines approved in the Kingdom, with the exception of passengers under the age of 12.

Travelers under the age of 12 are required to present an insurance document approved by the Saudi Central Bank that covers the risks of COVID-19 infection outside the Kingdom.

In addition, citizens who recovered from the virus less than 6 months ago and those who contracted corona more than 6 months ago and received a single dose of one of the approved vaccines in the Kingdom can travel abroad.

GACA said that these procedures will come into effect on Aug. 9.

The GACA continues to apply all preventive measures at the Kingdom’s airports, with the aim of providing an integrated health environment for travelers at Saudi airports.

The procedures also include obliging all concerned authorities and air transport companies operating at the Kingdom’s airports to comply with health safety requirements and preventive measures.


DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green

DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green
Updated 29 July 2021

DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green

DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green
  • Partnership between Diriyah Gate Development Authority and Saudi Botanical Society reflects both sides’ concern to protect and preserve local plants
  • First phase of the development project covers the restoration of more than 2 square kilometers of Wadi Hanifa and old farms in the region

RIYADH: The historic city of Diriyah is about to get greener.

The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Botanical Society (SBS) to cooperate in private projects in the area of plants and trees in Diriyah.

The MoU also includes spreading awareness about the importance of plants and green spaces and developing the first national garden for local plants in Diriyah, within the projects implemented by the DGDA.

The first phase of the development project covers the restoration of more than two square kilometers of Wadi Hanifa and old farms in the region. It will also establish new hiking trails and parks to make the valley an open space so tourists and visitors can enjoy natural sceneries and outdoor space.

Developing the plants and green space in Diriyah was also addressed in the MoU, along with providing scientific and technical research in the field. The project is in line with the Diriyah Gate Project, Wadi Hanifa Project, and Wadi Safar Project as all associated parties will exchange expertise, information, data, and knowledge sources.

The partnership between DGDA and SBS reflects both sides’ concern to protect and preserve local plants in Diriyah.

SBS, the first nonprofit organization specialized in the protection of wild and local plants in the Middle East, was established after Saudi leadership launched a number of initiatives, such as Green Saudi Arabia, Green Middle East, and a scheme to plant 50 billion trees in the Kingdom.


Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public

Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public
Updated 29 July 2021

Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public

Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public
  • Health Ministry reports 1,334 new cases, 1,079 recoveries, 11 deaths

JEDDAH: The Saudi Health Ministry has warned residents against false claims about COVID-19 persistently circulating on social media and for the unvaccinated to get out and get inoculated from the disease.

Dr. Abdullah Asiri, Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Medicine, also urged the public to continue following health safety protocols to avoid getting hit by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.

In a recent message posted on Twitter, he  said that all medications must be taken in accordance with instructions, including antibiotics, but that most do not interfere with COVID-19 vaccinations.

The timing of vaccinations might need to be adjusted for people taking immunosuppressive drugs, such as rheumatism and cancer medications, to ensure the best response to the vaccines, he explained.

As of Wednesday, more than 25.7 million doses of vaccines have been administered in the Kingdom, at a current rate of 326,727 a day. More than 18.4 million people have received at least one dose and more than 7 million have received two, meaning more than 73.8 percent of the population has had at least one jab.

INNUMBERS

522,108 - Total number of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom

502,528 - Number of recoveries 8,200 Deaths

8,200 - Number of COVID-related deaths

The Ministry of Health repeated its call for all eligible citizens and residents to register for the vaccine given the continuing spread of variants, and reiterated that people who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to become infected, or to suffer severe symptoms if they are.

Authorities reported 1,334 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total in the country to 522,108. The number of active cases has risen to 11,380, and 1,409 patients are receiving critical care, 13 fewer than 24 hours earlier.

The Eastern Province recorded the highest number of new cases, with 271, followed by Riyadh with 260, Makkah with 239, Asir with 127, and Jouf with 12.

An additional 1,079 people have recovered from the disease, raising the total number of recoveries to 502,528, a recovery rate in the Kingdom of 96.2 percent.

An additional 11 people died as a result of conditions related to COVID-19, raising the death toll to 8,200.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya) announced that fully vaccinated travelers are exempt from quarantine requirements upon arrival in the Kingdom. Expatriates returning to the Saudi Arabia are also exempt if their health status is recorded as “recovered” on the Ministry of Health’s approved app, Tawakkalna.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said it conducted 1,689 field inspections in Tabuk, during which it identified 83 violations of precautionary health measures in workplaces.


Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit

Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit

Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit
  • Summit aims to draw a roadmap to transform educational systems in targeted countries
  • Saudi education minister is representing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

RIYADH: On behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh is participating in the Global Education Summit on Financing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021-2025 in London.

The two-day summit opened on July 28 under the patronage of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Al-Asheikh will deliver Saudi Arabia’s speech on behalf of the crown prince on Thursday during the summit, which is being attended by 12 heads of state, 60 education ministers, representatives of the private sector, influencers and youths.

The agenda of the summit includes calls for the international community to finance the strategic plan of the GPE and raise $5 billion over the next five years. It aims to draw a roadmap to transform educational systems in targeted countries through exchanging the best practices, studying the latest systems, and listening to experts and young people from around the world, in addition to benefiting from the expertise of stakeholders.

On the first day of the summit, Al-Asheikh met the British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly at his office in London.

HIGHLIGHTS

The agenda of the summit includes calls for the international community to finance the strategic plan of the GPE and raise $5 billion over the next five years.

It aims to draw a roadmap to transform educational systems in targeted countries through exchanging the best practices, studying the latest systems, and listening to experts and young people from around the world, in addition to benefiting from the expertise of stakeholders.

The meeting discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, reviewed the Kingdom’s efforts to support education through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), and Saudi Arabia’s participation in the summit, emphasizing its role in supporting education around the world.

Al-Asheikh also met the chair of the board of directors of the GPE, Julia Gillard.

During the meeting, they discussed areas of joint cooperation, intensified efforts to contribute to the development of education at the international level and topics of discussion at the Summit.

They also discussed strengthening the relationship of GPE with the SFD, citing the projects carried out by fund in the education sector in various countries of the world, and praising the Saudi role in supporting the education programs in addition to cooperation between GPE and KSrelief in the education sector.

The Saudi minister also held a meeting with the Kuwaiti minister of education, Dr. Ali Fahad Al-Mudhaf. The two sides reviewed cooperation between the two nations.


The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art
Updated 29 July 2021

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art
  • The paintings refer to the practice of hunting and grazing by the people of the region

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia has a rich heritage depicted in the rock art sites scattered across the country. These show representations of religious, political and socioeconomic life since ancient times.

The engravings, some of which date back to 12,000 B.C., include many images of animals that were used by man for their milk, meat, skins and fur.

Dr. Salma Housawi, professor of ancient history at King Saud University, said that the rock art shows that the inhabitants of the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula began to hunt and domesticate animals in around 6,000 B.C.

“The dog was one of the first animals to be domesticated and used for hunting. Donkeys and bulls depicted in the drawings are also domesticated then,” she added.

Housawi noted that the rock paintings scattered in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula, which date from 4000 to 2000 B.C., refer to the practice of hunting and grazing by the people of the region. 

When the climate of Saudi Arabia became extremely hot and arid, cattle gradually disappeared and were replaced by animals that are more suited to the dry environment, such as camels, ibex and goats, particularly in the northern and western regions.

The professor said that camels were first depicted on the rocks of Kilwa northeast of Tabuk.

She said the camel was used for transportation due to its endurance and ability to sustain harsh desert conditions of the Arabian Peninsula, making it one of the most important animal resources.

“The camel is a food source and a means of transport that has played a major role in Arab relations with their neighbors, in addition to its participation in the wars.” 

She noted that in the area of Jabal Al-Malihiya, 40 kilometers east of Hail, its rock facades have important inscriptions and drawings depicting cows, wild camels, ostriches and lions. She said that Saudi Arabia was keen to register the Hail rock paintings on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of these animal drawings.

“The Qassim area also abounds with animal drawings of ostriches, lions, lionesses, cows and camels, while in the Uyun Al-Jawa you can find drawings of predators, ibex, ostriches and camels,” she said. “Mount Tamiya in Uglat Asugour region also features drawings of camels and ibexes.” The rock art of the Al-Bukayriyah area features a fascinating drawing of a lion and lioness next to each other.

The rock art of the central region of the Dawadmi province, which shows a similar range of animals, includes aurochs, as well.

She also noted that rock drawings were also interesting for their hunting scenes, which illustrated accurately both the movement of the hunter and animal and the weapons used in hunting.

“The Ministry of Culture, represented by the Saudi Heritage Authority, is making a great effort to preserve and document archaeological and historical areas in the Kingdom, in cooperation with various foreign missions in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Housawi said.