Arts meets politics in Sudan

Sudanese playwright demands more support from the government

GMT 17:33 2012 Monday ,27 August

Arab Today, arab today Sudanese playwright demands more support from the government

Sudanese playwright and critic Alser Alsayed
Khartoum – Abedalgoum Ashmeag

Sudanese playwright and critic Alser Alsayed Khartoum – Abedalgoum Ashmeag The Sudanese playwright and critic Alser Alsayed is from the generation that struggled and strived to make the voice of the creators heard by the state and concerned organisations. He is a writer, critic and play writer who has published books including: “Dawaar Lam Taktamal,” (Unfinished Circles) which was issued by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in 2003. The book addresses issues involving the Sudanese drama and Arabian theatre.  He also released his book “Fe Afok El Tasaal” (In the prospect of question) for the Khartoum Press association which was published in 2011. It discusses  the experiences of Sudanese play writers, in addition to several problematic issues in Sudanese theater.
Alser Alsayed told Arabstoday that he does not deny that the state now offers support and care for innovators and creativity here and there. However, the problem is that this support is not organised, not permanent, and not subject to any plan or clear strategy, so it comes like gifts; comes in the way of Abbasid state by giving money to the innovator. However, it is unfortunate that when the creative writer requests money to produce artwork, they do not pay him and he does not receive any support from the state agencies.
Perhaps the reason for this ceremonial trend in the state dealing with culture, is that it can spend billions on evening singing, but cannot afford to spend hundreds to produce a good musical orchestra or good theatre shows. In a question put by Arabstoday regarding any hope that this picture changes, Alser Alsayed answered that he does not think there is a chance because in his view; the minister who can bring some changes was dismissed (Alsamuwal Khalafallah), and a Minister who has nothing to do with media or culture was appointed for political satisfaction. The most dangerous aspect for improving the cultural domain is the merging of the Ministry of Culture with the Ministry of Information, proving to be an ironic step because the president's campaign was launched under headings including: “Paying special attention to culture and making culture an independent ministry,” but all that has been blown away.
However, the Sudanese critic and playwright Alser Alsayed stressed that despite  this, Sudan has a real creativity movement compared to Arab countries. He says since the mid-nineties up till now, there has been a boom in novelists. He said that in Sudan, there are writers and creative young people, including (Mansour El Souwaim)  whose novel “ Zakra Sharira” (evil Memory) won prizes in Arabic novel competitions in Beirut and has been translated into French. The writer won also prizes in the translation of novels, and on the creativity movement in Sudan which is being published in many areas. He said that many writers in Sudan could not previously publish their writings such as  the poet Mohamed Ahmed Majzoub, one of the symbols of the cultural movement of poetry in Sudan.
Now there is the Tayeb novel Award by Abedl Karim Mirghani Cultural Center and by Zain Company. Tayeb Salih is known to honor the name of Sudan globally as a writer and creator.  Alser Alsayed added: “There is also a shift in the field of documentary films where we classify among the countries with high productivity in the field of art, our productivity goes beyond 20 films in the year.”
Sudan was able to achieve advanced positions in the Arab festivals. Alser Alsayed promised Arabstoday another statement, in which he addresses his participation in festivals and Arab theatre conferences, where he participated in the writing of the Encyclopedia of Arab Theatre issued by theatres of Sharjah in 2012.

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