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Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center, top Kuwaiti arts, culture venue

KUWAIT: The Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center. – Amiri Diwan photos

KUWAIT: As a remarkable piece of architecture with four glistening gigantic buildings, the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center (JACC) was established with the aim of continuing Kuwait’s regional legacy as the custodian state for arts and culture. Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center (JACC) inaugurated by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on October 31, 2016, to become one of the largest cultural projects in Kuwait, witnessing about 1.5 million visitors since opening.

JACC theaters and halls also saw more than 250 cultural and artistic events, with the participation of more than 6,000 artists varied between musicians, singers, dancers and lecturers, representing more than 35 countries around the world. During this short period, the center generate revenues for the state that exceed KD 4.5 million.

Head of financial and administrative affairs at the Amiri Diwan, Abdulaziz Saud Ishaq, said Kuwait has always been a forerunner in the field of culture, art and literature, as this civilized project is reflective of Kuwait’s identity through modern creative engineering means. JACC an architectural masterpiece, through its design and implementation, as the center’s design inspired by the distinctive Islamic architecture, and with its location on the Gulf Road that gave tourism importance to the center, he said.

The building’s unique design reflected, in the most literal terms, light all over the area, making the center one of the most visually amusing attractions in the country. The credit for the idea of establishing the JACC attributed to the engineering department of the Amiri Diwan, that was drown from Kuwait’s history, present and future, Ishaq said.

Four buildings
The JACC consisted of four building with one housing the main stage, which accommodates some 2,000 attendees. Drama theaters and rehearsals spaces could house some 900 people. The second, third, and fourth buildings consisted of a 1,800-capacity musical facility, a 1,072-capacity cinema and multi-purpose space, and a 354-seats conference hall and parking for 3,200 cars. With its amazing colors and lighting JACC fountains becoming an additional attraction to this touristic site.

The exterior of the JACC’s headquarters-constructed on an area of 52,000 square meters-was built from titanium and reinforced concrete. Some 10,000 workers helped build the JACC. The JACC won many prizes for creativity in design; in 2017 it won International Property Award of the Arabia and Africa for best project and best interior design. In August 2017, It has also won Merit Award for the best international projects offered by INR US specialized magazine in the field of architectural engineering.

JACC has also earned MEED magazine’s award as the best cultural landmark in the Arabian Gulf in 2018.The center had announced the opening of a Music School for Children to develop their musical skills, as part of the center officials’ efforts to sponsor talent, creativity and arts.

Learning music
The educational curriculum in the school taught by professional teachers from various countries to provide children, aged six to 12, the opportunity to learn music. It offers Western, Arabic music and multi-level programs for training on Western instruments such as violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and piano, in addition to Middle Eastern takht, oud, ney, and Middle Eastern violin. The music school would embrace children’s musical talents, introducing contemporary and effective musical styles.

The Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center aims to nurture the musical scene as well as establishing children’s orchestra to highlight Kuwait’s music scene. The first scholastic year started on September 15-19, 2019 as the second year will be on January 12-24, 2020.About the center’s activities for the third season 2019-2020 that started on September 24, 2019 and to continue until April 19, 2020, as the center announced submitting more than 100 activities during its third season. The third season will be more innovative, diversified and artistic, compared to the previous seasons, as the center started is season with (The Ruins) show, an operatic concert celebrating the legend Umm Kulthum as never seen before.

The concert presented three of Umm Kulthum’s most famous songs, performed by May Farouq and conducted by maestro Emad Ashour. The first part of the show had a classic feel, very similar to Umm Kulthum’s original stage set, and the second part presented the song Al Atlal in an innovative style, with the latest and most creative uses of theatre technologies, to transform the classic song into something modern, sophisticated, and both visually and vocally stunning.

The center attracts in its third season an elite of most important performances and international arts that were presented in the largest international theaters, including (Circus 1903) the best-selling magic show in the world, and Giselle by Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company on January 2020.

JACC also hosted PKF-Prague Philharmonia on November 19-20, 2019 most recognized orchestras in the world, that included three classical evenings for music lovers, featuring a selection of classical pieces and Kuwaiti composed pieces on the first two nights, and a selection of film gala scores on the third night, the Kuwaiti 10-year old pianist Rawan BahBahni who won the hearts of the audience for her professional manner of playing piano behind the lead performer, French national Emanuel Vioum.

This season also included four plays, Kids play ‘Julnar and the Firebird’ and ‘New Jibla’ written by Saud Al-Sanousi, and performed by a group of actors.On January 2020 the center in collaboration with Gulf Theater, will play ‘The Price’ written by American playwright Arthur Miller, the Kuwaiti playwright Abdulaziz Al-Surayyie adapted Miller’s work in 1987.On March 2020, JACC will present a new cultural work for internationally renowned Kuwaiti playwright and director Sulayman Al-Bassam, ‘Media Medea’, drawing inspiration from ancient Medea Greek tragedy written by Euripides.

JACC will witness and exceptional show on March, 2020 Kuwait Calling, a first-of-its kind international co-production with dance company Rambert, with its inspiration firmly rooted in traditional music and dance, Kuwait Calling will transport audiences on a fast-moving time-travelling journey from the desert origins of Kuwaiti culture to the sea and back to the city, reflecting on the ingenuity that allowed Arabic astronomers and scientists to harness the knowledge of the heavens to further human understanding and development.

Monday talks
After two successful seasons of JACC weekly Monday talks events, the season will be back with 26 different event and new names including, Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada, and the Egyptian Ahmad Murad, in addition to Kuwaiti actress Jassem Al-Nabhan, Kuwaiti author Khalifah Al-Wugayan. As a part of its activities that had a great turnout, JACC music band performed a variety of musical events during the current season, started with a special night for Kuwaiti melodist Youssef Al-Muhamma, who during his career presented more than 400 songs.

The Kuwait Notebook with Khalid Al-Shaikhw will be on JACC schedule for January 2020 and the JACC Orchestra presents (Without a Microphone) for classical Arabic music lovers with prominent singer Jahida Wahbe. The season will be concluded with An Evening with Abdulhussain, Abdulhussain Abdulredha is a legendary comedy actor from Kuwait, his influence on Kuwaiti and Arab pop culture, comedy in TV and theatre, and music is unmatched.

This biographical work is set to explore themes from his life that made him who he is. We will be telling the personal story of Abdulhussain and what affected him rather than just going through a catalogue of his work. This project aims to unveil what life events helped create this icon and lead to some of the most memorable works the Arab World got to see from him. – KUNA

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