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In light of the decline in the theatrical movement at the Arab level in general, it may not seem surprising that the children’s theater is the most affected by this decline, as specialists in this field believe that the Arab children’s theater is still fragile, and a lot of work is required to reach an effective and effective theatre, while it is not The small receiver is still a big challenge for creators.
In his message on the occasion of the Arab Day of theatre, the Iraqi theatrical artist Jawad al-Asadi, who was chosen by the Arab Theater Authority to be the owner of the sixteenth edition of the Arab Day of Theater message for the year 2023, which falls on the tenth of January of each year, wonders “about the reasons for the continued absence of artistic and theatrical education from Our curricula, except for a few of them, persist in marginalizing and ignoring theater in many of our Arab countries, and not supporting serious and innovative theatrical works; due to lack of capacity »
In light of this reality, many Arab parties have been holding festivals dealing with children’s theater, in an attempt to promote this art, which is closest to children’s hearts. Due to what the theatrical show provides in terms of spectacle and direct communication with the recipient.
For example, the Emirates Festival for Children’s Theater in the Emirate of Sharjah has reached its sixteenth station, which was launched in 2005, and there are many festivals specialized in this art that are held annually in most Arab countries.
According to the researchers, the beginnings of the children’s theater go back to the middle of 1566 in England, while the first children’s theater was established in France in 1784, in the United States in New York State in 1903, and in Russia in 1918 through the Moscow Children’s Theater, after which this art spread to most parts of the world. the scientist.
In the Arab world, the Egyptian poet Muhammad al-Harawi (1885-1939) is considered the true pioneer of the creative composition of children’s theater, through works such as: “The Child’s Dream on the Night of Eid” and “The Emotions of Boys”, but the emergence of the first children’s theater that bears clear features in Egypt was In 1964, while the National Children’s Theater was established in 1981.
In the United Arab Emirates, the “Al Qasimia School” in Sharjah is credited with launching the first play in its modern form with the stage and the audience, in the fifties of the last century.
As for Syria, the children’s theater is relatively old compared to the history of the theatrical movement in this country, and it can be said that the real beginning of this theater was in the sixties of the last century, when the puppet theater was established in the Ministry of Culture, where experts from European countries were used to train theater artists. Puppet shows, and since that time, the performances of the puppet theater, and then the children’s theater in the eighties, have not been absent from the stages of the Syrian theaters, and they have become an essential part of the Syrian theatrical season.
Playwright Joan Jean believes, in an interview with Al-Bayan, that despite the fluctuations in the status of theater directed to adults and the varying level of its performances, children’s theater has maintained a certain level of quality. Due to strictness in defining and choosing works.
And Jan adds, “It is not without the presence of theatrical performances for children with low technical levels in form and content, but in general it can be said that a high percentage of what is presented has a reasonable level of quality.”
Two main things
The author of the book “Theater Without Backstage” confirms two main things that should be taken into account in children’s theater performances: the first is related to the text, in terms of presenting educational and moral messages and enlightening thought; “Because the Arab child today needs an art that will extract him from some of the ignorance ideas that he receives.” The second is related to the display elements, which should carry visual and auditory pleasure.
In this context, Jean refers to the positive role played by theater festivals in the development of the children’s theatrical movement in the Arab world and the encouragement of young playwrights. ».
Actor and director Muhammad Nasser Al-Shibli believes that children’s theater may be the most difficult among the types of theatrical art, as it needs playwrights who think with a creative mindset, to be able to communicate the idea of the work and its goals to the child away from direct construction and rhetoric.