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Saudi Arabia seeks to attract Egyptian showbiz stars

In order to boost the entertainment sector, Saudi Arabia has just signed a series of agreements to allow a panel of Egyptian stars of showbiz to come to perform in the Kingdom.

On February 8, the president of the General Authority for Entertainment, Turki Al-Sheikh, signed numerous memorandum of understanding with producers and suppliers of Egyptian content during a visit to Cairo. Previously, he announced similar agreements during a visit to London, reports the Saudi press agency SPA.

Highlights include six performances of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ across the Kingdom, featuring Egyptian actors Yehia El-Fakharany and Farouk Al-Fishawy, as part of a theater contract with Cairo 21, reports the online media Arab News. Playwrights Amir Taima and Ayman Bahgat Qamar will also write new plays to help revive Saudi Arabia’s theatrical heritage.

As for films, Turki Al-Sheikh has agreed with many production companies to screen and produce dozens of films with Saudi, Egyptian and Arab actors, including Egyptian film legend Adel Imam. The latter will be the guest of honor for a special event produced by True Motion Media Production, led by his son Rami Imam.

Egyptian music fans can also expect performances by singers Hani Shaker, Amr Diab and Mohamed Hamaki, says Arab News. Shows featuring legends of Egyptian music, such as Oum Kalthoum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez are also planned.

Saudi Arabia announced earlier this year that it is investing billions of dollars in the entertainment sector, according to Egyptian media Ahram Online. One way for the Wahhabi Kingdom to get rid of its ultra-conservative image, attract foreign visitors, create jobs for young Saudis and improve the quality of life in a country where cinemas and public concerts were banned until recently.

Al-Sheikh said that Saudi Arabia was seeking to be among the top 10 entertainment destinations in the world and among the top four destinations in Asia, but provided no timetable and few concrete figures to achieve these goals, said Ahram Online.

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