DHAHRAN: For the next few days, Ithra Theater is making the audience the star of the show for a special National Day celebration.
In a first of its kind, the theater is turning the mic around and asking audience members to be the main singers at a “Sing-along for Saudi” event.
In this immersive and interactive, karaoke-style space, children and adults will sing from their plush red seats along to live music played onstage.
At a performance this week, the band, all wearing crisp white thobes, and a maestro at the helm were the only professionals in the space.
The night began with a song everyone knew: The Saudi national anthem. Little Saudi flags were distributed to audience members and neon-green, glow-in-the-dark bracelets handed out.
The night was all about gently breaking rules — there is a “no photography policy” at the theater, but everyone was adding videos to their Instagram stories and Snapchat. That did not last long because people started clapping wildly and dancing in their seats.
The host of the evening, Abdulmajeed Alkinani, joked that people could continue to stand after the anthem if they wished; it was a night designed to just let go and show patriotic pride.
“We have one rule: You aren’t allowed to be shy. If you don’t participate and sing along, you’ll get into trouble,” he said, pretending to speak in a stern tone to someone offstage and adding: “Hey, jot down the names of the people who aren’t singing.”
Words to each song were displayed on a screen, so people had no excuse. One audience member joked: “Hey, next song, let’s just hear the musicians. Everyone here has a terrible voice.” Everyone laughed.
The 45-minute karaoke-style performance takes place at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly until Sept. 24.
Tickets are SR50 ($13) and can be bought via the Ithra app or at the door.