A Historical Study of Saudi Theatre with Reference to the History of Theatre in the General Presidency for Youth Welfare
Alotaibi, Naif Khalaf N
Date: 3 June 2013
University of Exeter
PhD in Drama
The subject of Saudi theatre has not been very well investigated by scholars and researchers, and many agree that there is a lack of resources concerning theatre in Saudi Arabia. Although there are a few studies about Saudi theatre, more studies in the history of Saudi theatre as well as in different aspects of theatre in Saudi Arabia ...
The subject of Saudi theatre has not been very well investigated by scholars and researchers, and many agree that there is a lack of resources concerning theatre in Saudi Arabia. Although there are a few studies about Saudi theatre, more studies in the history of Saudi theatre as well as in different aspects of theatre in Saudi Arabia are needed in order to help readers to further understand this subject. Unfortunately, the international community of theatre has not been able to access information about theatre in Saudi Arabia owing to the absence of studies of Saudi theatre in different languages, especially in English; this lack plays a key role in preventing readers from understanding Saudi theatre. This thesis attempts to play a role in bridging this gap in the area of Saudi theatre. It presents, therefore, a historical study of Saudi theatre from the establishment of Saudi Arabia as a country in 1932 to the period in which the General Presidency for Youth Welfare (GPYW) was established as the first organization that was responsible for supervising and producing theatre in Saudi Arabia, 1974-2004. In particular, the main aim of this research is to study and examine the history of theatre in GPYW from its establishment in 1974 up to 2004 when the Saudi government decided to transfer the responsibility of cultural activities from different institutions, including the GPYW, to the Ministry of Culture and Information. This will offer an important picture of the history of Saudi theatre which previously has not been addressed by scholars and researchers. The thesis is divided into six chapters. Owing to the fact that Saudi Arabia is a part of the Arabic world and has some similarities with the other Arabic countries in terms of language, religion, history, and culture, the first chapter will attempt to familiarize readers with the history of theatre in the Arabic world by providing historical background of the Arabic theatre. The second chapter will offer an outline of the historical, religious and social context of Saudi Arabia. The third chapter will present a detailed picture of the beginning of theatre in Saudi Arabia and the theatrical activities that took place in Saudi Arabia from its establishment until 1974, the year in which the GPYW was established. The fourth chapter will be devoted to exploring and understanding the main tendencies of theatre that emerged in Saudi theatre and dominated the history of theatre in this establishment from 1974 until 2004. In addition, a summary of a play of each tendency will be presented. It is essential for readers to be aware of the nature of these tendencies as they move to explore the history of theatre in the GPYW through the next chapters. The fifth and sixth chapters will concentrate on the history of theatre in the two main parts of the GPYW that produced regular theatre; the General Administration for Cultural Activities and the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts. Finally, the thesis will conclude by summarizing its main points and ideas and will provide some recommendations that should help the readers, future researchers, and Saudi practitioners to further improve and develop the subject of theatre in Saudi Arabia.
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