Research studies

Saudi Drama: Commencements, Efforts, and Progression (2)


Prepared by the researcher : Yahya Saleh Hasan Dahami, Professor (Associate at Al Baha University) Al Baha University – KSA

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies : Twenty-seventh Issue – March 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
 ISSN  2625-8943

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies

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In the past, theater productions in literary societies and clubs were not common, and they were not promising theatrical works either. The lack of thorough academic and scholarly investigation into Saudi theater is the impetus for this work. Saudi Arabian theater and drama have not been well discussed in writings on Arabic theater and drama. As a result, the fundamental challenge posed by this endeavor is the lack of resources for researching Saudi theater. This paper makes an effort to shed light on the beginning of Saudi theater and drama. An analytical-critical method is used in the investigation. After a brief introduction, the paper discusses stimulating topics such as the beginning and development of Saudi drama, in addition to the subtitled academic contribution to drama. Then, a brief analysis of Ahmad As-Sebaei as a pioneer who struggled to establish drama in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A brief debate, suggestions, and a conclusion bring the work to its culmination.


Since its shadowy beginnings in the ancient auditoriums and on the banks of the Nile in ancient Egypt some six thousand years ago, drama has reflected and matched the lives, customs, conduct, and general living traditions of civilization. Drama is a sophisticated and straightforward way to capture and record human activity. A large number of important playwrights made a substantial contribution to the development and evolution of Arabic drama and theater, and they frequently staged dramatic representations in a variety of Arabic nations over the course of time and space.

Many Greek and Roman plays share a connection to religious or secular commemorations, festivals, and festivities. In a broader sense, medieval ritual plays and paganism, such as the Greek and Roman tragedies and medieval English semi-plays, are what first introduced drama to the stage. The actual element of drama is thought to be the most well-known and frequent of all literary genres since it is a performance that imitates real life while being performed in front of audiences who represent different cultures, political ideologies, and historical periods.

Drama has changed over the years to reflect current issues and challenges. It was intertwined with the development of society. With a solid awareness of its fundamental elements and objective circumstances over the course of history, the playwright’s perspective articulated his perspective on the reality imposed by the many occurrences. Drama is the literary genre most strongly associated with politics because it has been so from its inception. It follows that its inception in the Arab world functioned as a catalyst for change as well as an expression of those trends and circumstances.

Similarly, because they deal with universal human values like justice, truth, and goodness, which never alter or transform, theater and literature in general have goals that transcend politics and history. Drama’s dual goals are entertainment and education. One of the earliest literary techniques was created by poets, clerics, and priests of the primordial universe. Significant societal inspiration and purpose have influenced it from its inception. “Drama was initially a way to bring people closer to confidence, discipline them, and teach” (Dahami, 2021b). The theological, social, and human meanings of the drama have altered man’s values, practices, and ideas in addition to reflecting them.

However, for decades, the Arab theater has sought to prove itself, trying to liberate itself from the domination of the Western text in its well-known traditional sense, and it has actually adopted some dramatic initiatives that were based on self-awareness and a return to investing in the popular and cultural heritage. “According to Dahami (2022a; 2020b; 2016); Allardyce (1969, p. 9); and Chandler (1968, p. 9), the drama ‘is so deeply associated with and dependent upon the whole material world of the theatre, with its thronging crowds and its universal appeal” (Dahami, 2016).

Those who follow the Saudi theatrical movement discover that this movement began later than the Arab countries that came before it in this field in many stages, but that it has surpassed many nations in various fields in the stages of the modern renaissance, revival, resurgence, and rebirth. Many Saudi dramatists, writers, and critics “struggled and called for upholding the national artistic culture and the opening of art and literary institutions and sought a revival of the theater” (Dahami, 2021a). To learn more about the specifics of the emergence of the Saudi theater, one must consult some sources, which are as few as they may provide. In his book The Rise of the Saudi Theatre, which was released in 1986, Abdul Rahman Al-Khuraiji, one of the pioneers of the theatrical movement in the Kingdom, paints a vivid picture of this problem. The three groups—educational, private, and public—that make up the theater. In comparison to the history of nations or governments, he continues, the political, economic, or social environment began just recently. Due to the lack of an environment that would be favorable for the creation of a theater among the Arab nomads that frequent Al-Ghabra and the Blue Tufts, the existence of theater in its broadest sense is more accessible than discovering galleries and theaters.

The Approach to Performance

For a fair and better-valid understanding, it is important to provide readers with a flashing overview of the social progress of Saudi society during the beginning of its first steps. This will assist in acquiring a better understanding of the context of Saudi Arabia and pave the way to understanding how acting, drama, and theatre emerged and developed.

According to reviewers and critics, neither Al Qur’an nor the Prophetic Hadith makes any mention of acting or the overall attitude of Islam toward drama, theater, and acting. They make no explicit reference to acting, theater, or even positive or negative imitation. Islamic legislation does not forbid theater, as evidenced by the lack of any mention of it in the two sources, Al Qur’an and As-Sunnah. See more at (Abdul Rahman, 2018, p. 1013; Ghanem, 2014, p. 194).

Alghazaly (1997), a researcher, claims that there are two main points of view shared by religious academics in the Islamic world. According to the first perspective, acting is permitted as long as it stays away from Islamically forbidden items or subjects. According to the second viewpoint, acting is totally prohibited (p. 166). Acting, according to other critics, is neither wholly prohibited nor wholly permissible. The most crucial thing, they say, is that acting is permissible so long as it does not involve engaging in prohibited behavior like consuming alcohol or disrespecting the Quran. See more at (Dali, 2008, pp. 137-138; Assur, 2004, pp. 39, 46).

However, a study of how Saudi religious scholars have impacted Saudi society would be incomplete without bringing up a crucial factor that strengthens the position of Saudi religious scholars. The attitude of Saudi religious people toward those who challenge or disagree with their views and viewpoints was the focus of this argument. Some religious leaders were pushing back against criticism and viewed it as an attack. In his book Authority and Identity Aspects of the Formation of Saudi Society Authority and Identity Aspects of the Formation of Saudi Society, Shehbi presented a few illustrations that exemplified the Saudi religious leaders’ animosity toward their rivals. The first was how some of Ulama (علماء) felt about some of Ghazy Alqusaiby’s theories and perspectives, which challenged some of Al Ulama’s theories. See more at (Alotaibi, 2013, p. 93; Shehbi, 2011: 15, 60, 62).

Commencement of Saudi Drama

At its inception, on a qualitative level, several critics state that the drama presented did not produce a qualitative outcome. What was presented was nothing more than theatrical experiences that did not go beyond occasional performances; shows aimed primarily at laughter and trade, away from the principle of value. Although the playwrights were the most prominent and present in local theater festivals, with the absence of festivals, the teams declined, and the actors and directors were absent. Rather, some of them turned to performances of events that are not stuck in people’s memories and cannot be relied upon to move the theater audience.

However, with the establishment of the great unitary entity, and the establishment of the independent kingdom, King Abdul Aziz exerted his utmost efforts to eliminate division, disputes, and enmity between the warring groups between them for decades, in order to consolidate security, peace, and harmony in the country. King Abdul Aziz

was a unique man who had a conscious mind, far-sight, and distinctive poise for men who were created. He had the ability to build a nation, revive a community, and educate the people. That man was Abdul Aziz bin Abdur Rahman. He was distinguished by every quality to regain for his family the kingship which was for them before and seize all that was under his forefather Abdul Aziz I and his son Saud the great (سعود الكبير) (Hannan, 2009, p. 6).

The political situation stabilized, and administrative and organizational institutions, ministries, and directorates for foreign affairs, education, health, and so on were established. The economic situation improved after the discovery of oil in the country. The Kingdom began a new era of building and reconstruction and began to understand the reasons for sophistication and the progress of modernity.

As a result of this, the cultural and literary movements flourished with the spread of printing presses, newspapers, and basic education centers in all regions of the Kingdom until the end of the first half of the twentieth century. “Several Saudi journals and newspapers contributed to widening the writing circle to broaden the kingdom’s literary movement” (Dahami, 2020a). It was evident in a change of circumstances for the better. Moreover, cultural backwardness leads to civil life, civilization, and progress. This is done with wonderful idealistic methods that are compatible with the life of the Islamic community in its fullest form. See more at (Sameera, 2016, pp. 16-17).

The drama productions that took place in literary societies and clubs in the past were not regular, nor were they one of the promising theatrical work approaches. Rather, they were individual endeavors carried out by individuals motivated by self-obsession, outside the issue of the public interest. It is done with the aim of personal benefit. Most of the performances come outside the cultural context in the field of clowning for the sake of clowning. The aim was to make many works not count as real Saudi drama, even if their authors claim that they carry direction and guidance.

The function of drama, as some might claim, is not to guide and instruct, but rather to put the person in front of the image of his true self to settle his crooked self. Drama does for the individual what it does for society by raising the mirror in his face so that this or that society can see its flaws and shortcomings and work to sort them out.

In the early eighties, the General Presidency for Youth Welfare took the positive step of sending a number of artists in several fields, including acting, directing, decoration, and authorship, to Arab, Gulf, and foreign countries, but this program was not repeated. See more at (Eid, 2007, p. 414; Imām, 2001, p. 29; Al-Mazni, 2000, p. 49).

Academic Theater in Saudi Arabia

Saudi universities had a big role in contributing to drama, as each university had its own theater, and the students of King Saud University presented a theater concerned with presenting realism and symbolism, while students of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University were interested in presenting what was known as Islamic theater.

Despite this effort from government institutions, it was not enough to enrich the Saudi theater, as theaters were not set up, as were acting groups, except for university students. The form of theater in those periods dominated its educational character because most theatrical performances were presented at university theaters. This is confirmed by many critics and playwrights, who point out that the theater stayed for a long time without the authorities’ officially responding to it. Theater functioned as an activity, not an art form or literature.

In 2012, Saudi Aramco, represented by the King Abdulaziz Cultural Center, contracted with the British National Youth Theater and attracted names specializing in the field of theater (acting, directing, decor, lighting, writing, and sound), in order to train a large number of people interested in theater. The course was intensive and held in the Eastern Province (Dammam – Al-Ahsa) and nearly 100 young people have graduated in the previously mentioned fields. In 2013, the British staff returned to offer a basic course and another professional course, and as a result, approximately 80 young people graduated. It was also held in (Dammam – Al-Ahsa). Ten young talents were selected to be sent to the UK to provide them with a cultural and theatrical experience. After their return to the lands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Aramco produced one of the international plays (One Thousand and Two Nights), and the play constituted one of the center’s goals of cultural exchange, as its crew included a number of British and Saudi playwrights.

No scholar of Saudi theater history can ignore the contribution of Saudi colleges to the preservation of theatrical art, as each university had its own theater with unique aesthetic qualities. The Saudi theater persisted in being of an academic and pedagogical nature. Since many theatrical productions were staged in school and university theaters, significant artistic and cultural initiatives—such as the founding of the Popular Arts Association in 1970 and the Department of Dramatic Arts at the General Presidency of Youth Welfare in 1974—have aided in the development of the modern Saudi theatrical movement, which is thought to be the credit-holder.

In 1967, at the University of Riyadh (currently King Saud), the play The Physician in Spite of Himself, written by Moliere, was performed. The play was directed by the Iraqi Ibrahim Jalal, and its roles were represented by a group of university students. It is considered one of the encouraging beginnings of the emergence of drama and theater on the stages in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arab Society for Culture and Arts is regarded as the founder of modern Saudi theater and was instrumental in the development of Saudi theater. The Saudi theatrical movement, in particular, as well as art and literature in general, have clearly regressed during the past 20 years, despite the presence of numerous significant artistic aspects in the Saudi theater. Additionally, young people need to be trained and given the proper opportunities to demonstrate their theatrical talents, as well as have their writing for the theater and artistic theatrical talents fostered and stimulated.

Ahmad As-Sebaei: a Pioneer

Ahmad Mohammad As-Sebaei (أحمد السباعي) is considered one of the pioneers of literature and culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the twentieth century. He was an outstanding writer, a great playwright, and a brilliant journalist. He became prominent in the fields of literature and journalism in the Kingdom until he was named Sheikh of the Arab Media in the Hijaz. As-Sebaei is considered the first to call for a Saudi Arab playwright, and his book ‘The Ladder of Reading’ was considered the first book in Arabic to be decided in the Kingdom’s schools. See more at (Abdul Hakeem, 2018).

The concept he had to establish a theater and a school for actor training in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the 1960s is what makes Ahmad As-Sebaei significant in the history of Saudi theater. This concept raised the expectations of a conservatively religious nation like Saudi Arabia as well as the standing of theaters found in schools. Even though the Saudi king officially decided to put off launching As-Sebaei’s theater indefinitely, As-Sebaei’s endeavor to found a theater in Saudi Arabia cannot be discounted when discussing the origins of Saudi theater. See more at (Ibn Mahfouth, 2021).

Al-Manhal magazine, Umm Al- Qura newspaper, The Voice of (Sawt) Al-Hejaz, and Al-Madinah Al-Munawara were some of the early journals that were launched with the commencement of the new vigorous reign called Saudi Arabia to publish different articles, critical essays, stories, poems, contemplative thoughts (خواطر) and literary reports” (Dahami, 2020a). As-Sebaei made significant contributions to Saudi journalism. He created his own newspaper here, a daily paper published in Makkah, and he worked for Umm Al Gura, a Saudi newspaper that is currently the official newspaper. No one should neglect the importance of journals and newspapers in the progress and revival of Saudi literature. “Several papers opened their gates to intellectuals and writers to contribute to the literary movement’s progress” (Dahami, 2022c). It is stated that

The foremost influences and encouragements of this renaissance or revival can be comprehended as education, [history], and enlightenment. One of the most crucial factors of such [a] revival is magazines and newspapers, which were spread in most of the big cities of the kingdom. Saudi philosophers, scholars, writers, and critics are inspired by the magazines and newspapers, which revealed ways for books from abroad (Dahami, 2022b).

His interest in history and literature piqued his interest. During his lifetime, As-Sebaei produced close to fourteen books, several essays, and short stories. As-Sebaei’s interest in theater might be attributed in part to his proximity to the arts and literature as a journalist and novelist.

However, Nasser Al-Khateeb notes that As-Sebaei became preoccupied with the notion of establishing theatre in Saudi Arabia after seeing a number of plays during his journeys to Cairo. The impact of Egyptian theater was palpable. It was clarified that Egyptian theater significantly influenced the development of the theater movement in the Arabic world.

In contrast to some of the other Arab nations, the influence on Saudi theater appeared inadvertent, even if it is agreed that As-Sebaei was indirectly influenced by Cairo theater. It may be reasonable to assume that As-Sebaei had the chance to see a variety of theatrical performances in Cairo. It can be speculated that the Egyptian theatre movement may have influenced the caliber of his attempts to open a theatre in Saudi Arabia, even if Al-Khateeb does not pay enough attention to providing helpful information regarding As-Sebaei’s experience with Egyptian theatre.

 It is essential to note that Al-Khateeb is the only researcher to have had a chance to speak with Ahamad As-Sebaei in person. He does not, however, provide any additional information or supporting documentation regarding Alsubai’s efforts to introduce theater to Saudi Arabia. In Al-Khateeb’s book, there are a number of unsolved questions, such as: Did As-Sebaei go to Egypt for the theater? What occurred on As-Sebaei’s Egyptian trip? Did As-Sebaei interact with Egyptian writers, novelists, and journalists to discuss theater? If Al-Khateeb had offered the answers to these queries, it would have been easier to comprehend As-Sebaei’s efforts.

Early in the 1960s, As-Sebaei made an effort to bring theater to Makkah by getting approval from the Saudi government to build a theater there. Based on a one-on-one conversation he had with As-Sebaei in the early 1980s, Al-Khateeb offers the following details concerning this incident: After receiving approval from the Saudi authorities, As-Sebaei began implementing his plan to construct a private theater after receiving approval from the Saudi authorities.

As mentioned by As-Sebaei, he acquired the land required to build a theater, prepared the necessary theatrical props, established Makkah acting school, dispatched individuals to Egypt to provide the facilities required for the theatrical process, and gave his theater the name ‘Dar Gouraish for Islamic Acting’ in honor of the illustrious Arabic tribe of Gouraish. After the rehearsal time, he invited two playwrights to perform several plays, and he hired a theatrical director from Egypt. However, as he was setting up the design, make-up, and costumes, something unexpected occurred that stopped the foundation of the Saudi theater. See more at (Al-Assaf, 2018; Madkhali, 2009).

In 1960, serious theatrical attempts began at the hands of the writer Ahmed Al-Sib’ai (أحمد السباعي), who established a drama group in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and an acting school, which he called the “House of Guraish for Islamic Acting,” and preparations began for the first theatrical show entitled “Conquest of Makkah,” which was written by Muhammad Malibari. Circumstances prevented its implementation, as a stream of anti-art stood in its way. However, this project dates back to the beginning of the Saudi drama (Dahami, 2022a).

Almogren and Al-Khateeb discuss how the Saudi authorities at that time decided to stop As-Sebaei from launching his private theater and instead postponed it until an unidentified time. Al-Khateeb explains what took place between the time As-Sebaei was granted permission to build a theater and the delay as a misperception of the value of theater on the part of extremely conservative people, whose pressure on King Saud led to the decision. However, Al-Khateeb’s word for those who put pressure on the king—the conservative people—does not adequately capture their characteristics. Natheer AlAzma, in contrast, refers to those individuals as “ulama” (Saudi religious scholars) rather than simply calling them conservative.

Despite As-Sebaei’s attempt failing due to the influence of religious people, the attempt appears to be a natural progression in Saudi theater history. According to Al-Khateeb’s account, which was based on an in-person conversation with As-Sebaei, this attempt included both a plan and financial backing for establishing a significant theatrical institution in Saudi Arabia. It is clear that offering a strategy and financial backing was a great place to start for a project to be successful.

The approach taken by As-Sebaei can be explained in terms of the construction of a theater in a separate structure specifically for theatrical purposes. The establishment of an acting school is a component that supports the approach used in this effort. Regarding the financial assistance, it seems improbable that As-Sebaei, a businessman, could have afforded to fund this initiative. In an effort to entice them to attend, As-Sebaei paid each new student who enrolled in his acting school.

Al-Khateeb did not provide any additional details from his personal discussion with As-Sebaei regarding his opinions and views on the institution, the teaching style, or the intended outcomes of its courses. Again, supporting the idea that educated Saudis like As-Sebaei tried to assume responsibility for the development of theater in Saudi Arabia was As-Sebaei’s attempt.

Ahmad Al-Sebaei was a theater pioneer who opened his first theater in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Throughout his life, he received numerous honors for his many accomplishments. Dar (The House of) Gouraish for Islamic Fiction Acting, which As-Sebaei founded in 1960, was the first theatrical venue in Saudi Arabia. However, it was shut down before the first performance. As-Sebaei, one of the leading leaders and literary pioneers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is often credited with having discovered the earliest works of theater in the Saudi nation. See more at (Madkhali, 2007, p. 83).

Ahmad Al-Sebaei kept going, and eventually, he took the name Dar Gouraish for Islamic Representation. He established the first theater in the modern concept of theater in Makkah Al-Mukarramah under the name Dar Gouraish for Islamic Storytelling, which he equipped with all theatrical requirements and constructed for him a special house. As-Sebaei is regarded as a pioneer in the field of Saudi theater. He gave him everything he needed for his theatrical work, including props, costumes, and clothing.

A prominent Egyptian director who had directed the majority of the plays by Youssef Wehbe, Dean of Arab Theatre, oversaw the training of players among Saudi amateurs. These actors kept their roles in the first play written by the late Muhammad Malibari. In the name of Makkah’s victory. Even if the theater’s opening date is determined, individuals opposed to the concept of opening a theater that later transforms into a nightclub will stop it from happening. As-Sebaei Theater was regarded by its patrons as the first recognized theater in Saudi Arabia and As-Sebaei as the father of Saudi theater due to the fact that the theater’s establishment and all prerequisite steps and capacities had been achieved.

The drama The Battle of Yarmouk was presented during the inaugural theatrical party, which was organized by Professor Omar Adel, the Al-Aziziya school’s then-director, and was held in 1360 AH. The efforts of a different man in Jeddah who rendered significant contributions to the Saudi theater before Ahmad As-Sebaei should not be disregarded by the Saudis. Moreover, this man is Jamil Qasami, who performed the play Crime and Punishment at a night school he ran in the Jeddah neighborhood of Al-Mazloum as part of the yearly ceremony held to mark the conclusion of the academic year for the year 1365 AH, which also included speeches, songs, and traditional games.

Ahmad As-Sebaei, one of the Kingdom’s literary pioneers, is frequently cited by scholars of Saudi Arabian theater as being the country’s first author of theater literature. Studies suggest that the poet Hussein Abdullah Siraj was the first to create a Saudi poetic play because of his maturity in theatrical composition as a result of his residence with Egyptian writers who have excelled in this field, such as Ahmad Allam and Mahmoud Taymour. The situation for him continued to be active, and it was the Dar Gouraish for Islamic Acting. The most well-known of them are Aziz Abaza and Dr. Issam Khoqir, who are regarded as the founders of Saudi prose theater. He first introduced the audience to his second play, “Al-Saad Waad,” which was eventually made into a television series, in 1380 AH, after writing The Whirlpool.

In his book, An Introduction to the Study of Theater in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nasser Al-Khateeb claims Dr. Essam Khoqir stated that he wanted to make theater a literary art form like all other literary genres in Saudi Arabian literature. His claims are that because of the way these plays were written, the theater was not a readable art and the books that were read were collections of stories and some novels.

Makkah Al-Mukarramah was the true beginning and the real breakthrough, and Riyadh High School featured a theater in which students would perform plays and speak their words and poems. The Ministry of Education had a significant role in integrating theater with other educational curricula. Ibrahim and the Al-Anjal Institute, today known as the Capital Institute, and these scientific functions, practiced lectures, seminars, poems, and plays in their early stages. Through the radio theater or television theater, the name of the theater was revealed, as well as introduced a novel idea to individuals who were unaware of what a theater was.

The audience of the Jeddah-based Saudi radio station in 1981 listened to the radio theater’s program, which was multi-paragraph and included scenes and plays. Hassan Dardir and Lotfi Zain were among the talented actors who appeared in these scenes and plays, and the theater was directed at the time by Mohsen Sheikh and Adel Jalal. Around two years after the start of the Riyadh-based broadcasting station, Abdul Rahman Hakim, Mustafa Fahid, Sharif Al-Ardawi, Muhammad Ali Yaghmour, Abdul Rahman Yaghmour, Amin Qattan, and Khaled Zare debuted, followed by the radio theater and the television theater. The radio of the former plays a variety of scenes and skits.

When As-Sebaei established the Gouraish Theater in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and decided to stage the play ‘Saqr Gouraish’ on the theater’s opening night, the first indications of Saudi theater began to emerge. If it had been successful, it would have been able to create a serious and accurate image of the Saudi theater, which has since been influenced by elite or personal experiences, rising occasionally and faltering the majority of the time.

In an interview with Sami Al Juma’an about Saudi drama, he acknowledges the contributions of As-Sebaei. A word of truth about As-Sebaei by Al Juma’an, who says, I say it proudly: how proud I am of you, the adventurous writer. You are looking forward to a better reality. May Allah have mercy on you because you were making drama at a time when the drama was not known. Moreover, Allah forgives those who discouraged you and stood in the face of your rich project. I say to As-Sebaei, how I liked your seriousness and attention to detail. How civilized you were in giving roles to their owners. The author left him to write and the director to direct, without you taking everything in because you are the owner of the project and the one in charge of it. May Allah have mercy on you! If your project had been completed, perhaps we would now be talking about a different Saudi theatrical reality (Al Juma’an, 2013).

New Progression

Al Maraya Theater, or The Mirror Theater, is a theater building located in the Saudi city of Al-Ula. It can accommodate about five hundred people. In addition to the theater, the building contains a gallery for international literary celebrations and art festivals, areas for receiving guests and artists, rooms for preparing artistic troupes before going up to the stage, and a special area for very important people.

Often, the sound of music that emanates from these festivals turns into the sound of the cities that host them. It tells the story of the place as it pulsates with joy and life and is known for its important tourist attractions. In addition to tourists, festivals attract journalists and other opinion leaders, as the festival is a media, cultural, and theatrical event through which they convey a different image and positive stories that define the importance of the place in a new, attractive, and positive image.

This giant theater helped to highlight the archaeological jewel of the Kingdom, which is the Al-Ula region, which is full of beautiful archaeological monuments that show the wonderful historical depth of the Kingdom. This theater, which is called the Mirror Theater, awaits the various theater groups that should contribute to and reflect Saudi Arabian culture, aesthetics, and civilization. See more at (Gamar Al-Din, 2019, p. 48; Mirror Theater, 2018).


Analysts and critics assert that Saudi Arabia’s lack of resources will hinder any future attempts to study theater there. They assert that because there is no documentation of Saudi theater’s history and little knowledge of the significance of theater in Saudi Arabia, it has been very difficult for many academic researchers to study and examine Saudi theater. It is imperative that various scientific investigations be carried out to assess and investigate the evolution of drama and theater in order to remove the uncertainty with clarity.

Various people who are attempting to enter the area of historical and documented study in the Saudi Arabian theater struggle to find informational sources. As a result, the researcher turns to investigate the ancient newspapers’ folds for information on historical theatrical events. According to several researchers, a key problem with the history of Saudi theater is the paucity of available material.


Drama and theatre in Saudi Arabia have depreciated, deteriorated, and suffered from neglect. Currently, they are still challenging neglect and striving to firmly put their feet on the platform of the stage. Saudi Drama honors a number of pioneers who worked hard to create an environment conducive to the rise of drama at the national level. Saleh ibn Saleh, Abdul Aziz Al-Hazza, Rashid Al-Shamrani, Hussein Abdullah Siraj, Issam Khufeer, Ahmed As-Sebaei, Muhammad Malibari, Abdel Nasser Al-Zayer, and many more Saudi pioneers and innovators built and implanted drama as a well-rooted skill that yields live seeds.

Such pioneers have worked hard to introduce cutting-edge Saudi drama and theater to their nation. Even if drama originated elsewhere, it is reproduced and spread throughout the kingdom and is completely prepared for its development and maturation. Nevertheless, drama evolved and developed until it took its final form, which is well known to everyone. For the Saudi pioneers, authors, and developers who helped to establish the Saudi literary renaissance, drama, and theater were essential.

Few studies have been done on it, and those that have not corresponded to Saudi Arabia’s expanding theatrical scene. It is obvious that all Arabs now view Saudi drama as a literary form because of the support of those who gave up their luxurious lives and fought for it with words, money, and physical work, regardless of what the critics may say about the roots of the genre. They made a significant contribution to the competition between Saudi Arabia’s drama and theater in the Arab and global literary spheres.


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