The latest phase of the 'school theatre initiative' is scheduled to last until February. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cairo: The fourth stage of a Saudi government initiative launched last year got off the ground this week to train a total of 25,500 teachers in public schools in theatre skills over three years.

The latest phase of the “school theatre initiative” is scheduled to last until February. The effort is planned to culminate in December in a competition resulting in the best 1,000 plays with overall cash prizes of SR3 million up for grabs.

Part of a strategic partnership between the Saudi education and culture ministries, the initiative is being implemented by the Theatre and Performing Arts Commission.

Launched in October 2022 in cooperation with Australia’s Monash University to develop theatre arts, the five-phase plan lasts 27 months, covering a total of 19,647 government schools across the kingdom.

The fourth and fifth phases aim to train 3,200 and 22,160 teachers respectively.

The previous three phases featured an intense two-week course for the trainees followed by online guidance sessions and one-week school support visits designed to oversee theatrical activities and groom students.

In late 2022, Saudi officials also unveiled a plan to teach music in schools starting from the kindergarten level.

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.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has seen marked socio-economic transformations as part of massive reforms espoused by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.