Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre 2021: Let the Shows Begin!
• Announcing the jury headed by Waleed Al Jallaf Al-Zaabi and the membership of artists Ali Jamal Mohamed Ahmed Youssef and Ibrahim Salem Al Bairaq.
• The inaugural performance with the play ‘A True Feminine Rib’ (Dole’ Moa’nath Salem) by Dibba Society for Culture Arts and Theatre.
Dubai, UAE, 20 November 2021: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) brought theatrical arts back to life physically with the launch of the 12th edition of Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre 2021 at The Theatre – Mall of the Emirates, which will run until 25 November.
The opening ceremony was attended by Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts & Literature Sector at Dubai Culture; Fatma Al Jallaf, Acting Director of the Performing Arts Department at the Authority; Emirati and resident artists; and a large number of media representatives and theatrical enthusiasts.
The opening ceremony began with the UAE's national anthem, followed by a speech by Kharbash, who affirmed that this year's edition is special as it coincides with the country's celebration of the year of the 50th. He also stressed that the festival represents a return to the live stage, saying: "Today, we at Dubai Culture celebrate with the audience the opening of this new edition of DFYT, with only two weeks left for the celebrations of the UAE’s golden jubilee on 2 December. We are opening new doors for every talent, artist and intellectual to contribute with their ideas and messages to inspire the sons and daughters of our nation to follow in the footsteps of our founding fathers and our wise leadership, carrying the baton of giving to achieve even more impressive accomplishments in the next 50 years.”
Kharbash added: “On this day, we return with an exceptional version of DFYT, witnessing the participation of national theatre groups from across the UAE and affirming their cohesion with Dubai Culture to produce an exceptional edition aligned with the emirate's ambitions and theatrical energies, as well as the aspirations of our audience, which is the main pillar for the development of theatrical work. With constant encouragement and support, our talents can further shine and innovate.”
Kharbash added: “Over the course of a whole week, this edition will witness the discovery of new talents and the creations of previous talents, all of whom are competing by presenting original and creative plays in terms of content and directing to bring joy to the hearts of theatre enthusiasts, whether citizens or residents.”
Kharbash affirmed the importance of DFYT in supporting local theatrical talents and the emirate’s creative economy, saying: "Today, we have a strong base for establishing Emirati theatre on a global level, and at Dubai Culture, we believe that the future of theatre depends on the talents of our creative youth and their innovative ideas. Based on our mission and role in supporting and empowering the creative talents, whether citizens or residents, DFYT provides talents with an important platform refine, develop and grow their skills, becoming stars, who would enrich the Emirati theatre scene with their productions, which enhance Dubai’s creative economy towards achieving the emirate’s vision of being a global capital for the creative economy.”
Kharbash concluded his speech by expressing the Authority’s pride in the talents’ efforts and passion as well as its commitment to nurturing them to unleash their creativity on the stage, and investing the expertise of its partners and senior artists to guide and advise these creatives towards a promising future.
During the opening ceremony, the jury members were announced. Headed by Waleed Al Jallaf Al-Zaabi, the jury also includes artists Ali Jamal Mohamed Ahmed Youssef and Ibrahim Salem Al Bairaq, all of whom were selected by the festival’s organising committee due to their long-standing experience in this field. Al-Zaabi has had a long career in theatrical stage design, having designed a large number of plays, such as 'Do Not Share Your Vision,' 'Neighbourhoods and Things,' 'The Handkerchief,' among others. He was also a jury member in multiple editions of Sharjah Theatre Days as well as in Sharjah Festival for School Theatre and Sharjah Short Plays Festival.
Artist Ali Jamal also has extensive experience in theatrical acting and participated in many plays, such as ‘Frash al-Zeer,’ ‘Bumahios 97,’ ‘Mawaweel,’ ‘Al Dahleez,’ and many more. He acted in and directed several plays and won a number of awards in the fields of directing, lighting and decoration. He also wrote and directed several short and feature films, whereby his short film 'Crossing' won the Best Short Film Award at the Middle East Festival in Abu Dhabi.
Artist Ibrahim Al Bairaq has directed a large number of plays, including ‘Citizen Antar,’ ‘Hal Shakal Ya Zaafaran,’ and 'Qariban Min Saa'at Al Aa'dam.' He also possesses a distinguished career in theatrical acting, from his days in Kuwait while studying at an institute, such as his roles in ‘Barshama,’ ‘Groom of the Land,’ ‘Bab Al-Fotouh,’ and ‘Zahrat Mahra,’ which was produced by Ajman National Theatre in 2012. ‘Al Bairaq’ won many awards in theatrical directing and acting at the 10th Jordanian Theatre Festival and Sharjah Theatre Days Festival.
Fatma Al Jallaf expressed her pride in launching this edition of DFYT to restore the connection between audiences and the artists on stage, stressing the continuation of the festival over the past years, reaching its 12th edition this year, reflects its success in stimulating the energies and creativity of young people with every new edition. Al Jallaf reiterated Dubai Culture's commitment to supporting local theatrical talents from the UAE and the region and enhancing the incubating environment for their creativity towards cementing Dubai's position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent.
The opening ceremony ended with the first theatrical performance of the season titled ‘A true Feminine Rib’ (Dole’ Moa’nath Salem) by Dibba Society for Culture Arts and Theatre, written by young Emirati artist Abeer Al Jassmi and directed by rising actor and director Mohamed Juma Ali.