A passion for the performing arts, and a desire to bolster his country’s cultural scene, saw Dr. Abdelsalam Qubailat set up the Al Shams Theatre in Amman three years ago.
The owner believes it to be the only national, private theatre house to stage regular performances and he’s proud that it’s a forum for Jordanians to express themselves.
“I thought of establishing Al Shams theatre because there is no theatre in Jordan and this is important for any country or any society,” says Dr. Qubailat. “Here in Jordan, we have severe rigidness and suppression, and this is where the arts plays a role.”
The founder’s goal is to make Al Shams a cultural centre, accessible to all of Jordanian society, and to have this play into the wider sustainable, cultural development of his homeland.
To that end, the theatre provides workshops for children and young adults, allowing the next generation of budding performers to develop their artistic abilities.
To encourage healthy attendance figures, the 350 seat venue hosts around two performances a week, with tickets costing ten dollars. The playhouse, named after Théâtre du Soleil in Paris, is also home to a subsidized café which has its own small stage where regular comedic performances and musical concerts take place.
The main theatre’s first production in November 2017 was, ‘Pay…I Won’t Pay’, a play adapted from an Italian farce to satirize Jordan’s political climate.
Directed by Dr. Qubailat, the show was well received and had a cast made up of members of the local community, from students to lawyers.
The theatre’s regular amateur actors provide their services for free given that the business operates as a non-profit organization. Running his passion project this way hasn’t always been easy for Dr. Qubailat, who was temporarily forced to shut the theatre two years ago due to lack of funds. The unstinting support of the local community, contributing their time and talent, helped the playhouse keep its doors open.
An enthusiastic thespian, who most recently took part in the tragic drama, ‘Sea and Sands’, is Hayat Jaber.
Marking her acting debut in the piece, which prompts the audience to question their sense of reality, the performer says she felt blessed to have the assistance of her troupe.
“The idea of finding a text, and a team able to create a sweet mix of creativity and stimulating the mind of the viewer, is very, very difficult in Jordan,” says Jaber, a forum coordinator at the cultural organization, Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.
Jaber is hopeful her future performances at the theatre will continue to provoke cultural dialogue in those who look on. She’s also unwittingly inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.
“I aspire to go on stage one of these days, and from the stage to go to other types of performance,” says Laith Tallouzi, who has a passion for comedy acting and is currently a student at Al Zaytouna University in Jordan. “But right now, my job is as a barista and continuing my studies.”
So, whether delivering coffee or moving performances, it would appear that members of the Al Shams Theatre community in Amman are all playing their part to ensure that the show goes on in Jordan.
SEEN ON SOCIAL: BEHIND THE SCENES IN AMMAN
Enginering student Anas posted a photo of his theater club peers in Jordan.