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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Cairo: Education authorities in Saudi Arabia’s central region of Al Qassim have promised a probe into content of a controversial school show.

The move comes after the stage show entitled “Horizons” had sparked a controversy on social media.

An online video of the show purportedly features a scene in which a group of schoolgirls remove their black abayas or flowing garments, and treading on them as they follow an illuminating ball held in a colleague’s hands.

The head of Al Qassim education department directed an investigation into the content of the show.

“In reference to what has recently been circulated on social networking websites on one of the student theatrical shows, the educational director-general in Al Qassim has directed following-up what has been raised on the content of the theatrical show ‘Ufuq’ (Horizons), verifying details of the work and completing the necessary measures,” a statement quoted by the Saudi media said. The official also ordered the formation of a committee to oversee programmes of school celebrations and revise their content.

The move aims to “be in line with the educational role based on national invariables emanating from Islamic values and teachings,” Al Qassim education authorities added in a statement.

It was not immediately clear when or where exactly the controversial show was performed.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed dramatic social changes including more interest in entertainment including theatre and concerts as the kingdom has opened up to the outside world.

In February 2020, the Music Commission was established as a government agency affiliated to the Saudi Culture Ministry with the aim of overseeing development of a music sector that provides non-discriminatory access to music education, empowers musical talent and contributes to the local economy.

Last September, a government official said music will be a subject taught as part of curricula in Saudi Arabia in two years’ time starting from the kindergarten level.