SketShow: Revitalizing Jordanian theatre

Sketshow 2
SketShow aims to present meaningful and entertaining performances.
AMMAN — SketShow is a youth-led theatrical team established in 2011 by Zaid Al-Hajji. Inspired by the role of theater, SketShow aims to present purposeful theatrical performances on societal issues through comedy, drama, musicals, beatboxing, and dance. The theater also encourages creativity and welcomes it.اضافة اعلان

SketShow not only performs but also encourages Jordanian youth to follow their artistic passions from acting, directing, writing, drawing, singing to stage management and event organization.

Since its foundation, SketShow has sought to present meaningful and entertaining performances. They’ve succeeded in doing so and have presented at numerous venues, including theatrical performances and skits in local universities, schools, and theaters.

“Writing plays is my hobby, so, during my university days, I was posting some of my writings on the university`s Facebook group, and it was getting a lot of student interaction. Then, my friend Moath encouraged me to write a play voluntarily with the LoYAC organization,” Zaid Al-Hajji, director and founder of SketShow, said in an interview with Jordan News.

“I gathered a team of people interested in theatrical arts, and we launched the play ‘Ramadan Mesh Heik’ on July 30, 2011, as a volunteer initiative written and directed by me. After that performance, people would ask two questions: ‘When is the next show?’ and ‘How can we join the team?’”

Encouraged by this response, Hajji initiated the launch of SketShow and accrued a crew of performers and organizers, and began SketShow’s journey. Today, the group has organized and presented around 500 theatrical performances, and it is considered one of the leading youth theater groups across the Kingdom.

SketShow aims to present meaningful and entertaining performances.(Photos: SketShow Facebook account)

"Our vision is to revitalize theater and support emerging youth talents," said Hajji. "Our message is to present theatrical performances that highlight sensitive societal issues in a contemporary youth style," he added.

Two of SketShow’s plays gained traction across the Kingdom: Firstly, “Shayabto Shababna”, which translates to “our youth will grow grey hair”; and secondly, "Cafe Al-Arayes". Both these shows were directed by Hajji. “Shayabto Shabana” was performed for the first time in 2013, and the director revamped the production in May 2021.

The director shared that the play presents actual stories about some sensitive social issues related to sexual assault. The play also highlights the impact bad friends have on the younger population.

Hajji’s "Cafe Al-Arayes" was performed in 2019 and then performed again in July 2021. It discusses family problems, the difficulties of finding a job amongst youth, and poverty. The play is in the comedy/drama genre.

SketShow hosted over 500 performances in all corners of the Kingdom and has worked with multiple organizations to garner support in expanding their audience. The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development supported the group in performing in different governorates. SketShow also partnered with the Festival for People with Disabilities for three years in a row. They also performed for refugees in cooperation with Action Against Hunger and held several awareness performances collaborating with the Anti-Narcotics Department.

Empowerment is an essential pillar to SketShow, and they have made an effort to be inclusive regardless of gender and age, and they’ve been successful. “More than 350 young women participate in this artistic team, which helped empower women in this field,” said Hajji. ”We support and training more than a thousand young creators in theatre arts.”

Hajji has written and produced over 15 plays, and he is now working on a new performance with his team that he stated will be announced soon.

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