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CHILDREN'S THEATRE : A catalyst for education, entertainment, and personal development


THEATRE communities have come up with the necessary tools to effectively deliver educational messages to children through applying different roles that provide the appropriate content.

These groups, through a number of targeted activities, research initiatives and forums, are working to create a strong basis to support the growth of children’s theatre in Oman.

While attending children’s plays at the Al Din International Festival, it was found that the artistes took efforts to play out characters with messages that was not only effectively communicated, but also entertaining as well.

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It demonstrated that seemingly challenging topics could be presented via theatre via simple story plots.

Speaking to a number of artistes specialising in children’s theatre to understand their motivations and approach to their craft, was a marvelous experience.

Wafaa Al Shamsi, a researcher specialising in children’s and youth literature, underlined the importance of critiquing and analysing the characters in a play.

This is necessary to help with the development and formation of children’s personalities via a number of factors, most notably by choosing an appropriate character playing the part of a hero who can connect with the child’s environment and mindset.

Theatre scenes should also be clear and understandable to the young audience, taking into consideration their emotional frame of mind.

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Othman Al Shatti, author of the play ‘The Rabbits, recounts his participation in theatre, saying: “The basic structure upon which the Kuwaiti Children’s Theatre was founded is the reason for its strength and brilliance. The source of the strength of the Kuwaiti children’s theatre is the presence of a correct foundation for the theatre and the audience who grew up with theatrical works of great artists and considered theatre a tool for education and entertainment at the same time, and on this basis it is continuous.”

Othman further adds that the audience is considered one of the indispensable sources of power, and that refers to the theatre culture that Kuwaiti society and viewers are accustomed to.

“In addition to fame, which plays a role in attracting a larger audience, it also ensures that the message is reached faster and more widely.”

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Among the factors that shape the success of the message of children’s play are the child’s questions about the senses and his curiosity, which leads him to search for the meaning of things and to repeating the script, songs, and scenes of the play.

The success of the message is also reflected in a change in their outlook towards a specific principle or the inculcation of a specific value that remains in their minds for long time, Al Othman adds.

Taqi AbdulAziz Abu Khanfar describes children’s theatre as one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century. “This type of theatre is the most powerful moral teacher and the best motivation for well-being that it has created.

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‘Human genius,’ this is what Mark Twain, American writer and author of children’s books, was quoted as saying: “The famous teenagers talk about the privacy of children’s theatre and its importance, an undeniable fact that is frequented by many major artistes, literature, and even news outlets on educational and psychological issues for children and adolescents.”

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“We recognise and consider children’s theatre as an arena for the emergence and growth of children’s talents and creativity and the opportunity to play roles and prepare to enter society, and at the same time an opportunity to remove inappropriate behaviours and morals,” adds Twain.

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