“Theatre among the most important arts in Qatar”

Culture Minister, HE Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Thani affirmed that theater remains an influential art in people’s lives. “During more than half a century of active role, Qatari theater influenced the Qatari cultural scene and Qatari society, until it became one of the most important arts closest to consciousness and of the conscience of the Qataris.”

The minister’s remarks came on the occasion of the Doha Theater Festival, which runs from March 16 to 27.

The Minister of Culture met several playwrights during a seminar organized on the sidelines of the recent Doha International Book Fair, and listened to their views and demands for the return of the theater festival.

The Festival is back after 5 years of absence. The event will offer theatrical performances, round tables and conferences led by local and international entities. All performances will take place at the Katara Theater.

The Director General of the Center for Theater Affairs of the National Theater of Qatar, Abdulrahim Alsiddiqi, said The peninsula that the 34th edition will host a varied program, reintroducing the festival to the public.

HE Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Culture

“We have eight shows for the theater and each participating university will have a show. The screenplay will be taken from international plays such as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The festival will feature five plays from universities and three plays performed by local theatres,” he said.

Participating institutions are Community College of Qatar (CCQ), Qatar University (QU), Lusail University (LU), Doha University for Science and Technology (UDST) and Doha Institute for graduate studies (DI).

Participating local theater groups are Qatari Theatrical Troupe, which is the country’s first official theater troupe; Doha Theater Company; and the Al Watan theater troupe.

The CCQ will premiere it on March 16 with the play “Six personalities in search of an author”; the next day, March 17, “Beyond Centara” based on the novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will be performed by QU; March 18, “The Elephant, Oh King of the Time” by DI; March 19, “Valley of the Blind” by UDST; and on March 20, “Justice Council” will be performed by LU. A group of Qatari artists who have played an important role in the country’s theater movement will also be honored. Among them, Ali Hassan.

Alsiddiqi said the COVID-19 pandemic has halted plays in the country. “It was very vibrant just before COVID-19 but unfortunately with the pandemic it didn’t die but it stopped. We only had a few games during that time. Hopefully the pandemic will be over as we try to revive theater activities with this festival,” he added.

Qatar was the first GCC country to hold such a festival in 1978. “Qatar started theater much earlier than our neighboring countries,” said Al Siddiqi.

Meanwhile, seminars taking place during the festival include “Qatari Theater at 50” on March 21, “A Reading of the Theater Experience of the Late Abdulaziz Jassim” on March 23, and “Achievements of Theater Festivals” scheduled for March 25.

Dr. Ali Al Anzi, Dean of the Kuwait High Institute of Dramatic Arts; Jalila Al Fahdiya, director of the theater department in Amman, Jordan; and Baha Zuhair, professor at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Iraq will be present.

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