Emirati theatre blooms at the fourth edition of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre

Published September 28th, 2010 - 09:40 GMT

The growth of theatre in the UAE and the larger Arab world will be the focus of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, now in its fourth year.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate's dedicated authority for culture, heritage and the arts, the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre will once again put the spotlight on youth theatre talent in the country. It will also feature valuable seminars led by experts on all aspects of theatre as well as the process of putting together a production seamlessly.

This year, the festival will commence on October 1, 2010 at 8pm at the Dubai Cultural and Scientific Association. Dubai Culture will also honour theatre legend, Moza AlMazroei, who was the first female theatre performer in the UAE, as 'Personality of the Year' at the closing ceremony.

Until October 10th, UAE-based theatre groups will perform eight plays that will be evaluated by an eminent jury led by by Mr Jamal Matar, renowned author and Emirati director, along with Mr Ibrahim Salem, Senior Director, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development; Mr Khalifa Al Takhlofa, Senior Director, Ministry of Education, and Committee Chairman of Dibba Association of Culture, Arts and Theatre; Mr Basima Younus, Head Writer, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community development; and Mr Yahya Al Haj.Theatre Expert, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

Awards will be presented at the closing ceremony for Best Play; Best Director; Best Script; Best Male Actor; Best Female Actress; Best Female Supporting Role; Best Male Supporting Role; Best Use of Lighting; Best Role for a Non-Emirati; Best Music and Sound Effects; Best Décor; Best Costumes; and Best Make-up.

Launched in 2007, the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre is one of Dubai Culture's key initiatives that aim at preserving the tradition and heritage of UAE's theatre scene. Participants from around the UAE will attend specialised workshops that cover the various facets of theatre production - from scripting to performing.

Salem Belyouha, Projects & Events Manager, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: "The Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre provides young theatre talent in the UAE a solid platform to showcase their skills while providing the audience with an insight on the Arab society and its history through the diverse subject matter selected for the plays. This year, the plays at the festival will underscore the strong participation of the youth in the UAE as well as the new trends and how our youth are adapting to the shifting preferences and styles in theatre production."

He added: "Despite the popularity and demand for theatre, the theatre-scene in the UAE still lacks the appropriate infrastructure to support the discipline. We are confident that through the festival, we will set a firm foundation for theatre as an artform to gain more acceptance that will drive stronger patronage and thus energise the local theatre scene."

On honouring Ms AlMazroei, Belyouha said: "It is our honour to bestow the title of 'Personality of the Year' to someone as talented as Moza AlMazroei. She challenged the norms of society to became the first Emirati actress. She changed the face of Emirati theatre and cinema, opening doors for other actresses to follow. Her contribution to the discipline of performing arts holds utmost importance in the growth of the industry."

Establishing a solid benchmark in theatre, AlMazroei was instrumental in inspiring talented Emirati women to follow her footsteps and prove their talent in acting. Her performances have been widely appreciated for their spontaneity and force, leaving indelible impressions in the minds of viewers. Her work in theatre also set the path for women in the UAE film industry too. She is known for her performance in 'Haneen,' which was screened at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2006.

Among the seminars lined up for this year at the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre include sessions led by experts on script writing, women in theatre, and the use of technology in theatre. This year, Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) and the Commercial Bank of Dubai are the Reward Sponsors of the festival. 

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