Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution Company’s (QCFDC) Gulf Cinema Complex in Najma, housing Gulf and Doha Cinemas is waiting for mandatory civil defence inspections to be carried out before making the country’s oldest entertainment complex available again for stage shows and other events conducted by expatriate communities. It also hosts programmes by schools and other institutions.
For more than two months now, the venue has not been able to hold stage shows and similar events after the Directorate of Civil Defence instructed the management to put in place mandatory safety and security procedures as a condition for holding such programmes at the complex’s two halls.
“We have installed all necessary safety equipment and completed safety procedures and are now waiting for civil defence officials to carry out their mandatory inspections. We are expecting them any time now,” said a senior QCFDC official. He acknowledged that the company had lost a number of bookings from amongst its regular customers during the two-month period which included the vital festival period.
As to why the cinema was still screening films though there was a ban on holding stage shows, the company official said holding a stage show meant fitting a number of additional hi-voltage electrical and electronic devices at the venue unlike while screening a cinema, which doesn’t require equipment other than what is already incorporated in the complex.
The official said the company had been unable to accept bookings for two-months for any stage shows even though the authorities had given the complex permission to go ahead with regular screening of films.
Even though the civil defence order in the wake of the fire on May 27 at Villaggio which killed 19 people, including 14 toddlers, was overwhelmingly welcomed by the country’s residents, it held up stage shows, in particular during the festival season.
“Stage shows provided some rare entertainment for bachelors like us, who are away from our families, during the weekends and especially during the festival holidays. However, this time we had to do without these shows,” said Shafeeq Mohamed, a “forced” bachelor, working in a contracting firm.