Al-Watan Theater Company is readying to open its own theater. This is an effort by the Ministry of Culture to support local theater companies in order to enrich the Qatari theater movement. The Ministry’s ultimate goal is to facilitate theater productions that reflect its mission to build artistic capacity and support talents. The Theater Affairs Center, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Culture, has been established to serve as a hub for theater enthusiasts and to translate the Ministry’s mission into reality.
Nasser Al-Hammadi, Al-Watan Theater Company’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, explained that this theater is a new addition to the Qatari cultural infrastructure. The project was launched in 2016 when the Center decided that Al-Watan Theater Company needed to have a space dedicated to its productions instead of relying on the Qatar National Theater. Having its own theater would create an additional source of funding for the company. He added that the Center’s Board of Directors worked hard to achieve this goal. A proposal was submitted to Mr. Abdul Rahim Al-Siddiqi, Director of the Theater Affairs Center, who fully supported the idea. Once support was secured, Al-Watan Theater project started to take shape, especially that the company is based in Hazm Al-Markhia district which had a site suitable for building a theater.
Al-Hammadi further commented that the theater, which took only a few months to construct, has a 110-viewer capacity, and it has been fully equipped with 48 light sources and microphones. The backstage area and the actors’ rooms are designed to meet the standards of professional theaters, since this theater is intended for professional productions, not just as a training stage or a theater for amatures.
The theater design, as he described it, is inspired by Qatari heritage, as the first and second rows of seats are traditional sadw seats and the rest are wooden chairs with Qatari traditional designs. He emphasized that the theater will open soon in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, but the company is yet to decide on its official name. The company’s board of directors is considering whether to name it after a pioneer of Qatari theater or to maintain the name Al-Watan Theater. He reiterated that the theater is a significant addition to the Qatari theater infrastructure and stressed that it will be available for all theater groups and production companies to hold their performances for a nominal fee. He concluded by saying, “In the end, our goal is a Qatari renaissance in theater and performance arts, and everyone should contribute to achieving this goal.”
The director of Al-Watan Theater Company revealed that the company intends to organize a theater festival that brings together local theater groups and companies to participate in a theater competition in order to enrich the Qatari theater movement. As for the company’s latest news, he explained that the company is currently holding its board of directors’ elections according to the schedule set by the Ministry of Culture, and the new board will establish the company’s new strategy.