Mariam Sultan, the veteran Emirati actress and founding member of the Sharjah National Theatre
The Dubai Culture &Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage, will honour Mariam Sultan, the veteran Emirati actress and founding member of the Sharjah National Theatre, as the ‘Personality of the Year,’ at the sixth edition of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre.
A one-of-its-kind initiative aimed at fostering and nurturing local and UAE-based theatric talent, the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre will be held from October 1 to October 8, 2012 at the Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC). Mariam Sultan will be honoured at the closing ceremony of the festival on October 8.
Currently serving as the First Director of the Ministry of Information & Culture and a member of the Dubai National Theatre, Sultan impressed audiences with her inaugural performance in the play, Haroon Al Rashid in 1976. Regarded today as the ‘Mother of Emirati Theatre Artists,’ Sultan has also worked in films and television.
Her movie, Al Muftah was screened at the Gulf Film Festival in 2009, while her popular television series include: Ajeeb Khareeb, Umm Al Saif, Thal Al Yasmin, Haz ya Naseeb, Salfa Wa Salfa, Jannat Maryam, the local show Hayer Tayer. She also worked on the short film The Key by Ahmad Al Zain.
Salem Belyouha, Projects & Events Director, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “Mariam Sultan is an inspiration for every theatre enthusiast in the UAE. She gave the courage and guidance for young theatre professionals to pursue their interest in this performing art, which is integrally associated with our heritage. It is our privilege to honour her as the ‘Personality of the Year’ at the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre this year.”
Mariam Sultan said: “I thank the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority for this honour. I worked in theatre at a time when very few women would step forward to be part of the performing arts scene in the region. Over the years, I have witnessed the drastic transformation of the theatre, film and television scene in the UAE, and this owes to the continued support of our leadership, who understand the value of promoting the arts and culture.”
Sultan has hosted and participated in various training courses including sessions held by the Ministry of Information & Culture, which were supervised by British playwright David Perry and Mr Yahya Al-Haj.
Last year, the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre honoured Arab theatre professional, Yahya Al-Haj, the first non-Emirati to be bestowed the title, for his contribution to the development of Arabic theatre with a focus on training young and emerging talent.
This year, the Festival will offer simultaneous translations of the Arabic plays, providing a wider audience with an inherent understanding on one of the region’s oldest artforms.
For this edition, potential theatre groups have been encouraged to present their scripts in authentic and classic Arabic, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, to nurture the Arabic language.