- Special Pages
From left: Mubarak bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Ismail Abdulla, and Abdul Sattar Naji at a press conference at Doha Marriott yesterday. (Shaival Dalal)
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: The Qatari play The Last Show will open the fifth annual Arab Theatre Festival tomorrow at the Qatar National Theatre.
Organised by UAE-based Arab Theatre Institute, the festival is being hosted by Doha for the first time. Previous editions were held in Cairo, Beirut, Tunisia and Amman.
“There had been invitations from other Arab countries to host the fifth edition of the festival but Doha was chosen for having been a Capital of Arab Culture and having played a significant role in arts and culture,” said Abdul Sattar Naji, media head of the festival.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference yesterday, Naji lauded Qatar’s efforts to focus on culture and the arts as the country’s economy continues to see fast development.
“The country is growing fast and culture is going in the same pace as the government focuses on building human capacity and promoting culture in various spheres such as theatre and cinema seen in its hosting of the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival and other big events,” he said.
With many people working together to build theatre culture in the country, Naji believes it is possible for Doha to be on the international map of theatre in the near future.
Nine plays from various countries including Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, will be staged during the six-day festival to be held at Qatar National Theatre and Katara Drama Theatre. They will compete for the Al Qasimi Award for Best Dramatic Work 2012.
The festival will be a showcase of well-acclaimed plays and Arab theatre’s new generation of plays and playwrights. “The participating plays promote Arab culture and depict the wave of changes going on in the Arab world such as the Arab Spring,” noted Naji.
More than 250 artists from 22 Arab countries are in Doha to take part in the festival which will also honour 16 talented women artists in theatrical art in the Arab world in addition to Qatari artist Dr Hassen Rasheed.
Four workshops on puppetry, theatrical costume and playwriting will also be organised on the sidelines.
The festival also includes meetings of the board of trustees and the council of delegates in addition to a three-day seminar. More than 70 books, studies, research and theatrical texts will be displayed at an exhibition of the publications of the Arab Theater Institute.
The press conference at Doha Marriott yesterday was attended by Mubarak bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage and Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Arab Theatre Festival and Ismail Abdullah, Secretary-General of the Arab Theatre Institute and the Director of the festival.
The opening ceremony will be held at 7pm at the Qatar National Theatre, followed by The Last Show at 8pm.