Curtains came down on the 9th Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre 2015, a nine-day celebration that showcased spectacular theatrical performances by Emirati talents. The festival, organised by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate's dedicated entity for heritage, arts and culture, was a resounding success this year. It further underlined the commitment of Dubai Culture to promoting theatre and nurturing young Emirati talent.
His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), honoured the winners of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, at a gala closing ceremony in the presence of dignitaries as well as a host of theatre experts and regional Arab artists including His Excellency Sultan Saqr Al Suwaidi, Chairman of The Cultural and Scientific Association, His Excellency Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and His Excellency Dr. Salah Al Qassim Advisor at Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
The festival featured plays, interactive artistic programmes, discussions and workshops aimed at enriching the cultural and art scene in Dubai, and showcased a deeper understanding of the art of theatre and highlighted the national young talent in this field.
The ceremony started with the UAE National Anthem followed by a play depicting the nation's loyalty to its rulers. A documentary showcasing the activities that happened during the festival was played.
HH Sheikh Mansour awarded the Personality of the Year to Ibrahim Salem Al Bareq for his active role in supporting young talent and for his accomplishments in theatre locally and internationally. After this the judging committee led by Hassan Ragab and members, Faisal Al Darmaki, Aisha Abdul Rahman, Mohammed Al Ghaz and Mahmoud Abu Abbas, were honoured.
The five competing plays at the festival were performed in classical 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 strengthen and nurture the Arabic language. A number of short plays, produced by Short & Sweets Short Plays Festival, were also held offering the opportunity for more people to be part of the event.
Five hosted plays was another public attraction this year which included the 'Talent Theatre' which showcased a variety of traditional and international musical performances and a variety of other activities.
The winners are:
- Best Play: Mas'alat Wagt' by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre
- Best Play by Public Vote: Mas'alat Wagt' by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre
- Best Director: Ibrahim Al Qahoomy for 'Masa'a Al Mawt by Khorfakkan Arts Theatre
- Best Script: Saeed Al Zaabi for 'Lo'ubah Youth Theatre & Arts
- Special Jury Award for young talent: Haider Abu Al Abbas
- Best Actor(Lead Role): Awarded jointly to Ahmed MalAllah for Al Jalsa by The Dubai Folklore Theatre and Yasser Al Niady for Lo'ubah by Youth Theatre & Arts
- Best Actress (Lead Role): Nawal Abbas for Masa'a Al Mawt by Khorfakkan Arts Theatre
- Best Supporting Actor: Awarded jointly to Abdullah Al Mahairy for Lo'ubah by Youth Theatre & Arts and Sultan Ben Dafoun for Al Jalsa by The Dubai Folklore Theatre
- Best Supporting Actress: Noaf Al Falasi for Al Rasasa by Eyal Zayed Theatre
- Best Design (Décor): Hassan Youssef for Mas'alat Wagt by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre
- Best Design (Lighting): Ahmad Al Shamsi for Lo'ubah by Youth Theatre & Arts
- Best Costume: Hassan Youssef for Mas'alat Wagt by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre
- Best Makeup: Maram Abdullah for Mas'alat Wagt by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre
- Best Sound Effects and Music: Abdul Aziz Adel Khamis for Mas'alat Wagt by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre
The jury suggestions for this year were announced by Hassan Ragab. He commended the increased participation by female talents, the focus on presenting topics related to youth issues and the importance of using classical Arabic language in the plays and various activities at the festival.
Yasser Al Gergawi, Acting Projects & Events Director of Dubai Culture, and head of the organising committee of Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, said: "The ninth edition of The Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre has firmly established the event on the national art events calendar, and cemented further the role of Dubai in promoting theatre and encouraging new talent."
He added: "This year's edition was a great success. We're pleased that the participants showcased their creativity through inspiring performances and bold themes that the community could relate to. The number of attendees this year was exceptional and we are confident that it will continue to grow year after year."
The Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre is the definitive platform for aspiring theatric talent to showcase their skills. Budding directors, playwrights and actors as well as technical professionals working on stage, costume, and lighting, and make-up artists, participate in the event that is geared towards strengthening their competencies on various aspects of theatre production.