His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, wished the graduates well Image Credit: WAM

Sharjah: His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA), announced the establishment of an association for the academy’s graduates in the emirate of Sharjah, to follow up and care for them everywhere, provide them with the necessary support and strengthen their enduring relationship with Sharjah.

He stated this on Sunday morning during the graduation ceremony of the SPAA’s first batch at the Academy’s Theatre, reported Emirates News Agency, WAM.

“These graduates may disperse in societies that do not value theatre or may not have theatres. Considering this, we established the SPAA Alumni Association, which will be Sharjah-based. Every graduate of this academy can consider it his or her home, and we will give all care to them. We hope that they will always be with us, sharing our joys and sorrows, and we will help them at all times. We hope their graduation is the beginning of setting their feet on a path filled with warmth that receives them at any time,” the Sharjah Ruler said.

Sheikh Sultan with the first batch of the academy Image Credit: WAM

Noting the continuous increase in the number of students affiliated with the academy, he added: “At the opening of the academy, 16 male and female students had been accepted. I said we would start with this number because ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’, and indeed, we started, and that beginning was the fruit of today’s graduates. Next year, the number of graduates will be greater, to reach 250 male and female graduates, and year after year, the numbers will keep increasing.”

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The Sharjah Ruler talked about the beginnings of the idea and work of establishing the academy and his efforts to set a clear vision and message for it, which brought about this success and excellence.

He praised the efforts of the director who managed the academy with love and belief in the vital message of arts and theatre.

Pointing to the College of Music, he said it would soon join the SPAA, wishing to see the college graduates with their colleagues from other disciplines.

Thanking parents and staff

During his speech, the Sharjah Ruler thanked and appreciated the graduates’ parents, saying: “I would like to thank the fathers and mothers of the graduates who have entrusted their children to our care. For me, personally, they are like my sons and daughters, and our relationship with them continued for four years, during which we kept asking about them, their performance, studies, health, and travels, and here we are today, reaping the fruits.”

As SPAA President, he also congratulated the graduates, wishing them success and a safe return to their homeland.

He also thanked and appreciated the academy’s teaching staff, who toiled for four years to train and equip the students with the necessary qualification and tools, evident during the directing, performance and acting of the play Nimrod, which highlighted their activity, knowledge and performance style.

The Sharjah Ruler concluded his speech by directing the authorities concerned with theatre and the arts in the emirate to attract and support graduates by involving them in the various theatrical celebrations and festivals the emirate organises.

In his speech, Professor Peter Pirlo, Executive Director of SPAA, praised the efforts of Sheikh Sultan towards establishing a unique theatrical, educational and practical experience in the region through the academy, his support while establishing it, and the follow-up in all its affairs until the graduation of the first batch.

He quoted Sheikh Sultan’s encouraging words, “The promotion of Third World theatre is not only through seminars and introductory pamphlets but through practical steps”.

Sheikh Sultan presented the graduates with their academic certificates, clicked memorial photos with them, congratulated them on their success and wished them success in their practical lives.

Song dedication

During the ceremony, the graduates performed a song dedicated to the Sharjah Ruler, expressing their thanks for all his support and care.

Sheikh Sultan had earlier signed 13 male and female graduates’ certificates before the start of the ceremony.

Attending the graduation ceremony alongside the Sharjah Ruler were Khamis bin Salem Al Suwaidi, Advisor at the Office of the Sharjah Ruler; Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; Dr Mansour Mohammed bin Nassar, Head of Sharjah Government Legal Department; Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, Head of the Protocol and Hospitality Department; several members of the Board of Trustees of the SPAA, faculty members and parents of graduates.