The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage, has announced that the jury for the fifth edition of its Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre comprises acclaimed Arab cultural personalities who have made significant contributions to the region’s theatre scene.
Headed by screenwriter Jamal Salem Al Tamimi, the jury comprises theatric professional Hafez Amaan; and Najla Al-Shehhi; theatre actor Abdullah Saleh; and writer/poet and theatric researcher and critic Haitham Al-Khawaja.
The Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture, is a one-of-its-kind initiative in the UAE aimed at nurturing youth talent, and will be held from October 1 to 12, 2011.
Theatre groups from across the UAE will participate in the festival, performing plays that encompass all aspects of theatre. The jury will watch the plays to select winners for an array of prizes.
Yasser Al Gergawi, Manager of Performing Arts, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “The jury for the fifth edition of the Festival comprises eminent cultural personalities, who have strong insights on theatre. Their evaluation of the plays and valuable advice will encourage the youth participants to further hone their skills, while driving the UAE theatre scene to gain more strength. We shall ensure to implement the recommendations of these professionals, in the festivals to come.”
Chairman of the jury, screenwriter Jamal Salem Al-Tamimi was the recipient of the Emirates Appreciation Award 2010 under the Arts category, presented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE & Ruler of Abu Dhabi, in addition to numerous other awards across various festivals. A graduate in Media from UAE University, and a board member of the UAE Theatrical Association, Al-Tamimi has held several positions in the field of media and the arts, and currently serves as the Director of the UAE channel in Abu Dhabi Media Company.
A board member of the Festival, theatric professional and director, Hafez Amaan has participated in numerous plays including Obsession, A Grain of Sand, and Beautiful, among others. Currently, a member of the Dubai National Theatre and supervises a number of courses and workshops.
A graduate from the University of Miami, with her Master’s degree from University of Leeds Metropolitan, jury member Najla Al-Shehhi began her career as the Sales Director of Broadcast Operations in Dubai Media City, before establishing her own production company. Over the course of her education she wrote and directed numerous plays including Shahrazad, Hadef, and Mouz. She also directed an Operetta Festival for young artistes, in addition to driving the operetta Jayadel Durr for UNESCO.
Actor and writer Abdullah Saleh, joins the panel of jurors with over 30 years of experience in the field. One of the founding members of the renowned Dubai Community Theatre, the Theatrical Association and the Youth Theatre for the Arts, Saleh has designed and led various workshops for emerging theatric talent. An accolade winner for his work in screenwriting and acting, Saleh was honoured as the ‘Personality of the Year,’ in the second Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre.
Dr. Haitham Al-Khawaja, renowned writer and poet, has bagged several awards over the span of his career including the Teachers Association Award of Syria for his play in 1986, an award from the Ministry of Information and Emirati Culture for his play in 1994, the Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza Al Nahyan award in 1997, as well as winner for the ‘Best Book in the UAE,’ in 2005 and 2009. Dr. Al-Khawaja is a member of the Theatre and Heritage Association in Cairo, the Union of Arab Writers, and the Union of UAE Writers, along with serving on the jury of several festivals.
The fifth edition of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre focuses on promoting Emirati and Arab theatre artists by providing a dedicated platform to showcase their talent in addition to sharpening their skills through critique sessions led by experts