Is the art of Arab theatre dead?



Celebrated film and television actors and popular theatre artists from across the Arab world have called for a strong theatre movement in the region, stressing on the importance of identifying and nurturing young and upcoming talent right from the school stage. Taking part in Sharjah Media Centre's Ramadan Majlis debate at Al Majaz Amphitheatre, dedicated to "Emerging Talents Dialogue: Nurturing Existing Talents to Build the Future of Theatre," popular Arab actors and theatre personalities expressed grave concern over the lack of young talent in the region.

The third session of Ramadan Majlis saw a galaxy of popular Arab actors and theatre figures in attendance, including veteran Egyptian actor Hassan Hosny, known for his memorable roles in Egyptian cinema and television, Jassim Al Nabhan, popular Kuwaiti actor and former chairman of the Popular Theatre Troupe, Ahmed Al Jasmi, popular Emirati actor and Chairman of Sharjah National Theatre and Ibrahim Salem, Emirati actor and Senior Director at the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, who moderated the discussion.

Hassan Hosny recalled how the Arab world had a robust theatre culture in the 1950s and 60s. However, he went on to bemoan the fact that today, even when young people study acting, they do not have theatre in mind as a career.

Hassan Hosny: "Theatre does not pay well nor does it offer adequate recognition. In Europe and elsewhere, it is a different matter altogether with theatre still offering great recognition and reward".

Hosny called for greater public and government support to theatre movement in the region, emphasising the need to concentrate on school theatre and inculcate a love of theatre from an early age. He paid rich tribute to Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his generous and constant support and patronage of the arts, including theatre, saying if it were up to him, he would...

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