His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, witnessed, this Saturday evening, the opening of the 33rd edition of Sharjah Theatre Days, organised by the Department of Culture, at the Cultural Palace in Sharjah.

Seven theatrical performances will compete for the Awards of this edition, which concludes on March 9, and 12 theatrical performances presented by theatrical groups in the country, in addition to a wide participation of artists, playwrights and researchers from various countries in the Arab world within the intellectual programmes, dialogues and seminars accompanying performances.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah honoured the Emirati artist Abdullah Rashid with the “Honored Local Personality Award” for this edition, and the Omani artist Fakhriya Khamis, the winner of the “Sharjah Award for Arab Theatrical Creativity” in its seventeenth edition. His Highness also honoured the “Fawanees theatre” from the Kingdom of Morocco, which won the “Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Award for Best Arab Theatrical Work 2023” for her show “Tekanza...The Story of Tuda.” The award was received by the show’s director, Amin Nasour.

During the ceremony, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and the attendees, watched two visual presentations, the first of which included the biography of the Emirati artist Abdullah Rashid, who made great efforts and continuous giving through his activity in local theatre in the UAE as an actor, writer and administrator since his beginnings in 1984, and his contribution to the development of the theatrical movement.

The second show covered stations from the career of artist Fakhriya Khamis, and the immortal works she presented that earned her honour throughout her career in the Omani and Arab theatre.

The ceremony witnessed the introduction of the members of the jury for this edition comprising writer Hazza Al-Barari from Jordan as head of the committee, artist Walid Al-Zaabi from the UAE, director Dr. Masoud Bou Hussein from Morocco, director Nasser Abdel Moneim from Egypt, and director and writer Ihab Zahida from Palestine.

A group of performances were qualified to participate in this year’s competition, which were selected through the viewing and classification committee. These performances are: “Marwad Kohl” by the Dibba Society for Culture Arts and Theatre; “Iskan” by the Ras Al Khaimah Theatre; “Estiyad” by the Dibba Al-Hisn Society for Culture, Heritage and Theatre; “Walimat Eid” by the Sharjah Public Art and Modern Theatre; “Al Tareq Al Akhir” by the Dubai National Theatre; “Al Mashhad Sifr” by the Khorfakkan Arts Theatre; and “ Kayfa Tusamihna” for the Sharjah National Theatre team.

Two theatrical performances were chosen to be presented outside of this year’s event competition: “Zaghrouda” by the Kalba Folklore and Theatre Society, and “Ramad” by the Fujairah Theatre team.

The programme of the 33rd edition of Sharjah Theatre Days includes two performances from the tenth edition of the Kalba Short Play Festival, which are: the work that won the Best Show Award, which is “The Chairs” by director Hamid Mohammed, and the work that won the Best Direction Award, which is “The Last Choice” by director Abdullah Al Ali.

A group of graduates of Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, and a number of graduates of Arab theatre colleges and institutes, are participating in the “12th Sharjah Forum for Arab Theatre Pioneers,” which annually celebrates outstanding Arab theatre academies, and gives them the opportunity to keep up with the activities of theatrical days and learn about the cultural scene in the Emirate of Sharjah. In addition to attending a group of lectures and training workshops presented by a group of Arab theatre professors, and a programme of introductory visits to the most prominent cultural edifices in the emirate.

The intellectual forum accompanying this edition is organised under the theme “Theatrical Directing between Impact and Influence” with the participation of researchers and theatre practitioners from several Arab countries.

The cultural programme accompanying the 33rd edition of Sharjah Theatre Days includes an interview with the artist Fakhriya Khamis on the occasion of her winning the Sharjah Award for Arab Theatrical Creativity, and another interview with the artist Abdullah Rashid on the occasion of his selection and honour in this edition. The programme also includes two cultural seminars, the first themed “Semantics and Aesthetics of Costumes in Theater Today,” and the second under the theme “Authorship Techniques in Contemporary Theatre: The Bahraini Experience as a Model.”

The opening ceremony was attended, alongside His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, by Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Consultative Council of the Emirate of Sharjah; Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture; Dr. Mansour bin Nassar, Head of the Legal Department of the Government of Sharjah; Jamal Al Tarifi, President of Al Qasimia University; and a number of senior officials, artists, intellectuals, media professionals, and theatre lovers and enthusiasts.