Under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al-Thani, Minister of Culture, the activities of the 34th edition of the Doha Theater Festival, organized by the Theater Affairs Center in the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara), were launched yesterday evening. The Festival lasts until March 27th, amid a large artistic and cultural presence of specialists and interested audience, as theater specialists also celebrate on this edition of the festival the passage of “50” years since the launch of the theater movement in Qatar.

The opening ceremony, which was hosted by the Drama Theater in Katara, staged the theatrical performance of “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by the Community College of Qatar, where the attendees enjoyed the show presented by the university theater youth. The performance was  later followed by a practice-based session in which actor Ghazi Hussein spoke to the attendees, along with director Ibrahim Lari and Laila Ibrahim.

Today, a play entitled “Beyond Sintara” will be performed by actors from the University of Qatar, while tomorrow, “Elephant: King of Time” will be performed by the students of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and on March 19 a play entitled “Valley of the Blind” will be performed by the students of the Doha University for Science and Technology. March 20, similarly, will host a play entitled “The Council of Justice” by Lusail University.

On March 21st, the Festival will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Theater Movement in Qatar, coinciding with the celebration of the World Theater Day, through a special symposium presented by the Theater Affairs Center entitled “Qatar Theater: 50 Years”. Moreover, March 22nd, a play entitled “Al-Ghabba” will be presented by Qatar Theatrical Troupe, and on March 23rd, the Festival will host a seminar entitled “The Theatrical Experience of Actor Abdulaziz al-Jassim”, while on March 24th, the play “The Dolls Maker” will be presented by Doha Theatrical Troupe, and on March 25th, a seminar entitled “Theatrical Festivals: What’s Next?” will be held. Finally, on March 26th, a play entitled ” Dana’s Love Story” will be presented by the National Theatrical Troupe, and on March 27th, a speech will be addressed on the occasion of the World Theater Day, in addition to a theatrical performance entitled  “Najma (Star) Theater” as well as a ceremony for honoring and awarding theater pioneers and actors.

Actor Hamad Abdul Rida, Head of Qatar’s Theatrical Troupe, said: “The return of the festival is a strong motivation for every actor in Qatar. For us, the news of the return of the festival was once again a great joy, as this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the start and establishment of our theatrical troupe, and this is the golden jubilee of the troupe, and therefore we live in line with this festival and its return another big and important event for us; as important as the festival and the joy of returning again to embrace the stage.”

Regarding the participation of the Qatar Theatrical Troupe in the Festival this year, actor Abdul Rida commented: “For our part, we have provided everything that can be provided in order to appear at the level that best suits us as a big name, and therefore every member in the troupe strives to be in the good faith of the public and critics; and with what we used to present of theatrical works that leave an impact on everyone.”
Actor Hadya Saeed, for her part, said: “The return of the festival brought happiness and optimism among the Qatari theater actors because for the actors in Qatar such festival is life, as they do not feel their presence and roles without the stage. I am very happy with this big and important event in which theater actors gather again to create, compete and enjoy the theatrical works after a period of absence that is not short. When I saw this gathering again, I voluntarily said: God bless you all, thanks God I saw you all gather again! We miss you and I hope it will be a great return and by God willing we will always stay together.” She, moreover, pointed out that the love of the theater is deep-seated in every actor, artist and lover of the stage, and stressed that there is a great state of optimism that prevails in the Qatari acting arts community after the return of the festival, hoping at the same time that the events related to theater and arts will continue in order to bring back the Qatari competition at the Gulf and Arab levels to witness the emergence of young actors and talents that enlighten the scene of the Qatari theater art and continue the march of pioneers and the current generation of actors and artists.

In its 34th edition, the Festival will honor actor Ali Hassan who is one of the founders of the art of acting in Qatar, as he was one of the first participants in theatrical and television works and won several awards during his theatrical career, and was honored in many local and international festivals.
Heads of the theater department will be honored for the first time in the history of the festival, and directors Faleh Fayez, Hamad Rumaihi and Nasser Abdul Rida will also be honored and rewarded, while this edition of the Festival will witness the return of “Najma Theater” (Star Theater) after 53 years of establishment.