In the presence of their Highnesses the Sheikh and Sheikha Al Qasimi, the Executive Committee for Sharjah Capital Of Islamic CultureWednesday March 19th, 2014
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, Executive Committee Chairman for the Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture 2014 Celebrations, last Tuesday shared some insights into Sharjah’s forthcoming musical spectacular “Clusters of Light”.
The revelations came during a press conference held in Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and Head of the Projects Committee for the SICC 2014 celebrations. The conference was also attended by members of the Executive Committee for Sharjah’s celebrations as the capital of Islamic culture, as well as prominent members of the crew and representatives of the media.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmad Al Qasimi said : “Clusters of Light” is the culmination of the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who ordained a work to be “recorded by history and engraved in memories of next generations”. In presenting the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the early story of Islam, it promotes humanitarian values of justice, brotherhood, love and peace. “Clusters of Light” contains such dazzling elements that words fail to describe them. The efforts of the administrative, technical and artistic staff will leave an indelible imprint in the history of this epic, he said.
He added that “The Clusters of Light” will bring values of love, justice, tolerance and peace to the entire world, thanks to the efforts of a considerable number of Arab and international artists as well as scholars of the biography of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and experts in the field of large-scale theatrical production. In excess of 750 people came together from various countries to produce an artwork that, His Highness said, reminds us of the most important moments in the formation of our Islamic civilization.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmad Al Qasimi said stressed that this, the first ever performance at the new Al Majaz Open Theatre, is Sharjah’s gift to the entire world: “By telling the story of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and clarifying the true nature of Islam, we hope we will enrich the world of ideas, highlight the civilising aspects of Islamic Culture and irrigate the intellects of present and future generations,” he said.
He expressed his deep thanks to the public and private sectors for supporting “Clusters of Light” driven by social responsibility and an eagerness to broadcast its message of love and peace to the world. “I am confident their support will ensure the success of this oratorio and contribute to its promulgation locally, regionally and globally. At the same time, their work underlines the distinct partnership between the public and private sectors in the UAE. It shows the state’s attitude towards organizing and hosting global events in all fields.”
For his part, Khalid Al Sheikh, the Bahraini Artist who composed “Clusters of Light”, commended the “spring of culture” currently being enjoyed by Sharjah by virtue of the vision and directives of His Highness. Al Sheikh pointed out the Emirate constantly offers sophisticated artistic and cultural initiatives, adding to its regional and global pre-eminence. He stressed this artwork represents “the greatest story narrated by history” both in its storyline and in the fact that its production gathered people of different nationalities, races and religions.
Christian Steinhauser, the German musician and conductor of the Global German Orchestra which recorded the score, said that the last six months of his life were the most important in his career. He co-operated with 50 musicians and 20 sound engineers from around the world to offer a spiritual and emotional soundtrack inspired by Islamic history. Steinhauser said that admiration for the biography of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) helped the team pull together to produce a monumental artwork about Islam in a short period of time.
Philip Skaff, CEO of Multiple & Spinifex Group – the multinational company that oversaw the show’s production – pointed out that the vision of His Highness to build “cultural edifices” rather than concrete buildings formed a strong motive for his company to be part of this work, and to bring to it the latest techniques in theatrical, musical and audiovisual display.
Richard Lindsey, Executive Manager of Innovation at the Multiple & Spinifex Group and responsible for the creative execution of “Clusters of Light”, stressed that he was very proud to have the artwork on his curriculum vitae, and to learn about the Islamic religion and the great Arab culture. He added that the values of purity, justice, love and peace advocated by Islam made him work harder to show these values in all the details of the artwork. He said this production merges the arts of theatre and technology, and will dazzle audiences in Sharjah and throughout the Arab world.
For his part, Kevin Robbins, the director of artwork, commended the considerable influence “Clusters of Light” is likely to have on the art scene in the UAE. Its imprint will be indelible, he said, especially in the field of acting, as a large number of talented young men and women in the region will participate in this artwork, showing great enthusiasm and professionalism, despite the fact that most of them are acting for the first time in their lives. He confirmed that each artist was proud to contribute to promoting the values of Islam, adding that converting the original, poetic text (by Dr Abdul Rahman Al Ashmawi of Saudi Arabia) into a theatrical work was an excellent choice – because theatre can be both narrative, funny and passion-provoking.
The audience watched a short film about Al Majaz Theatre, which will host the first performance of “Clusters Of Light” on the evening corresponding to Wednesday March 26. The theatre is the official headquarters the Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture 2014 Celebrations. It will in future host further national religious and artistic events. Best described as an amphitheatre, it can accommodate up to 4,500 people and boasts highly sophisticated technical equipment including 400 movable lights, 120 loudspeakers and 21 projectors. It will be the pre-eminent cultural venue in the region and a landmark in world civilisation.
Rasha Matar and Mohammed Al Suwaidi, broadcasters for Radio Sharjah and TV Sharjah, were the masters of ceremony. They concluded by thanking the members the Executive Committee for the Sharjah Capital of Islamic Culture 2014 Celebrations for their efforts in overseeing the work, and expressed thanks to the sponsoring institutions and companies in both public and private sectors. They also thanked the representatives of the media, and praised the sizeable crew of “Clusters of Light” for the efforts they have exerted.
First show of “Clusters of Light” will be staged at Majaz Island Theatre on 26th of March, in presence of hundreds of VIPs and special guests from government, diplomatic, artistic, and cultural circles and media representatives from the Arab and Islamic World. Four shows will be performed to public on 27th, 28th of March and 3rd and 4th of April. Tickets are available at http://www.ticketmaster.ae/ and at selected outlets across the UAE.