Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission finalizes sector development strategy

Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission finalizes sector development strategy

The Theater and Performing Arts Commission has announced the completion of its strategy in line with the framework of the National Strategy for Culture.

Sultan Al-Bazei, CEO of the Theater and Performing Arts Commission, said that the strategy aims to advance the theater and performing arts sector as one of the main cultural sectors under the national cultural strategy.

He also hailed the unlimited support received from Minister the Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan aimed at promoting the sector.

Al-Bazei pointed out that the commission’s main roles include: empowering sector practitioners by establishing a creativity-enabling environment, developing their abilities through education and training, besides providing motivation and support to unleash performances that cater to the Saudi audience’s taste, become part of the established cultural customs, and introduce the Saudi culture to the world.

The commission formulated its strategy after in-depth analysis of the current theater and performing arts sector in the Kingdom.

Benchmarking comparisons

It also carried out benchmarking comparisons with various international experiences, drawing on a number of knowledge sources, including the review of more than 50 documents, 20+ interviews with stakeholders from local and international experts, and opinion polls involving 1001 members of different segments of society.

The studies have identified the challenges facing the theatre and performing arts development project, linked mainly to the limited talent development programs, lack of basic infrastructure, poor funding, using low tier technologies in performances, lack of advanced governance to achieve higher community participation, insufficient audience engagement measurement tools, in addition to the lack of licenses for sector-related activities and professions.

The strategy defined the scopes of the sector, which include all types of performing arts such as theater, dance, circus shows, stand-up comedies, street performances, motion performances, and operas. This also includes theaters, content, production, and the prevalence of performing arts’ culture in the Kingdom.

Inspiring performances

The commission’s vision has been defined to aim at “Creating inspiring performances with exceptional talents on every stage.”

And its mission is “to develop and promote the theater and performing arts sector by empowering Saudi talents to build successful careers as well as create inspiring content.”

The commission has also set five strategic objectives: to enhance the quantity and diversity of content, increase and diversify local production, ensure access to the theater and performing arts sector, raise the level of appreciation among the public and practitioners, and generate audience demand.

To achieve these objectives, the commission also designed initiatives under several guiding principles aimed at addressing the main challenges, creating an effective theater space in which Saudi talent is active, ensuring the sector’s transformation into a productive industry that contributes to economic growth, promoting culture as a way of life, and raising the sector’s professional and creative levels.

The Theater and Performing Arts Commission will implement 26 initiatives to serve and develop the sector, to be executed in stages up to 2030, which fall under six guiding principles, namely:

The “Talent Development” principle comprises 8 initiatives: education; training and talent-discovery initiatives; school theater; house of Ardha and house of Samri; cultural business incubator; theater academy; career development initiative; sector graduate recruitment; as well as sector awards.

The “Sector’s Infrastructure Development” principle includes 3 initiatives: “Upgrading and activating the infrastructure, national theater, and the Riyadh theater district.”

Similarly, the “Funding” principle has 3 initiatives: “Supporting local production; supporting processes of holding and hosting shows; and financing events and content.”

The “Modern Technology” principle has 2 initiatives, which are: “Innovation support program as well as multi-screen initiative.”

Seven initiatives

Seven initiatives target the “Audience” principle, which are: “Subsidizing ticket prices; measuring audience satisfaction; developing theater criticism; raising awareness of local sector works; international awareness; stimulating community participation; as well as launching programs for tourists and international communication.”

The “Governance” principle has 3 initiatives, namely: “Activating the commission; activating civil society institutions; working with associations, as well as initiative of facilitating licensing procedures.”

The Theater and Performing Arts Commission will follow its strategy to advance the sector in various directions and creative paths; and serve artists, investors, and practitioners, especially in educational and training courses; which aim to graduate around 4,500 male and female performers; qualify about 4,200 male and female trainees; and discover talents in the field.

This also comes in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to develop the cultural sector; enhance the quality of life; and contribute to economic growth.