The Doha Players are once again preparing for another year of community theatre in Qatar, welcoming a large number of new members and promising to persevere in organising as many events and activities as possible despite lacking a permanent home for the theatre.
The amateur dramatics group has found it a challenge since their theatre was destroyed in a bomb attack in 2005, as they have had to produce a large variety of shows over the years without possessing a location in which to stage them.
They have had to rely on the generosity of various clubs, schools and other organisations to assist them in providing stage space and facilities in which to organise productions and other events.
Earlier this year, the authorities offered the group a villa to move into as temporary accommodation, but were notified thereafter that the building was set for demolition and could not be used.
But now they have been offered another building, and chairman Peter Phillips explained that as soon as the necessary work has been done on the villa, it will become the new base for the group.
About the major, long-term rebuilding project, Phillips said: “We continue to wander towards a new theatre – we have not been offered a site yet and so we cannot produce any concrete plans right now.”
“However, we must move all our stuff out of the old site in the near future as it is scheduled for demolition,” he said, adding “and hopefully we will be moving into this new villa before the end of the year.”
He explained that the new location should be able to stage small-scale productions, much like the old “West-End” part of the Doha Players theatre, and will also make general organisation and storage much easier for the group to handle.
Phillips said that he felt the previous year had been a success despite the challenges the group faced.
“Considering we are still homeless, we managed to stage a large selection of productions ranging from small-scale events for 100 people a night, to ‘Grease’ which some 4,500 people came to see during its run,” he said.
“This coming year we will be presenting the usual collection of plays and social events,” he claimed, adding “at the moment we are in the planning stages of staging Peter Ustinov’s Romanoff and Juliet, and we are also looking forward to the annual Pantomime in December.”
Phillips also mentioned the annual festival, ‘Dunestock’ which he is currently working on organising for this autumn at a location alternative to the usual site in the dunes. If this proves impossible, he said the event would be held early next year in the dunes.
Membership of the Doha Players continues to “hover around the 500 mark,” according to theatre administrator, Elaine Potter, who claimed that a lot of newcomers to Qatar are continuing to express a strong interest in getting involved with the group.
Although she conceded that it is difficult in terms of not having a facility to offer members, the strength of the productions being staged by the Players and the social possibilities associated with the group are still major benefits for which many people decide to join.
The group will be holding a ‘new members evening’ on September 29, and anyone interested can visit their website or call 4474911 to find out how to join.
Potter explained that the community has maintained its support for the Doha Players, expressing her gratitude to three major sponsors: HSBC, DTM and ConocoPhillips, whose support has been “essential” in ensuring that productions have been staged in recent years.
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