JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s theater movement is experiencing a remarkable acceleration through ambitious training programs being provided to teachers and students in the hope they can soon raise the curtain on the country’s rich heritage.
Ithra, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, has concluded its “Theater in Schools” program, which targeted 40 Eastern Province teachers.
The pilot program, which was run in cooperation with the region’s education department, was launched with the aim of promoting interest in the theatrical arts through accessible, innovative, and enjoyable courses. The courses focus on development, creativity, and inspiration for the future, as well as preparing Saudi society to become familiar with specialized theater learning spaces.
It aims to support 800 middle school teachers in the future to incorporate drama and theater in the public education system.
The four-week program offered an online training course that targeted middle school teachers countrywide.
It included virtual and practical training in Ithra in collaboration with the National Institute of Dramatic Art and the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy. The courses provided participants with knowledge and experience in art and theater techniques.
The participating teachers are expected to begin training their students on Wednesday for 10 weeks to create school productions, and prepare them for a national level competition in November to evaluate all the theatrical programs produced by the students.
The best six plays – three from female schools and three from male schools – will be directed and showcased at Ithra in January.
The program included panel discussions and specialized workshops that brought together people interested in theater to share their ideas, experiences, interests and aspirations.
It offered several workshops, including introduction to acting, audio performance and production, introduction to movement and physical performance, and introduction to storytelling, as well as other programs to develop artistic talent and provide a creative and innovative space to enjoy the performing arts.
Ithra offers programs to develop the artistic skills of creatives and professionals in this field. It is a destination aimed at nurturing creativity, spreading knowledge and strengthening cross-cultural communication through its year-round artistic, cultural and creative programs.
The center is a multidimensional cultural platform aiming to inspire and motivate its audience in the fields of science, arts and innovation, as well as empower national talent and highlight the advances of the Kingdom globally.
Actor Mohammed Al-Zahrani said the Kingdom’s theater movement was witnessing developments that would bear fruit in the near future.
“We have so much talent in different fields, and theater is no exception,” he told Arab News. “These talented young men and women only need someone to lend them a hand and open the doors for them to come up with great theatrical works.”
The Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Authority has launched a second advanced training program in acting and directing, aimed at discovering local talent and building professional tools and skills.
The authority said the program’s activities would continue at the King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Riyadh for 10 days, with the participation of 50 trainees selected from more than 150 applicants.
The applicants were chosen based on their previous experience in performance and acting and their knowledge of the English language.
The program will present two workshops and include professional training to develop the performance of talented people in the fields of theater and directing.
The authority used a training team from the US and Spain. The program aims to enrich trainees with global theatrical experience and enhance job opportunities for theater practitioners. It seeks to reach talented people in their regions and provide them with professional experience in their homeland.
It aims to support professional development in the theater sector, meet the need for qualified national candidates, and develop skills by organizing short and advanced virtual and in-house training programs.