The Doha Players is an amateur dramatic society, or ‘community theatre’ group, made up of English-speakers from all over the world. Formed in 1954, the Players drew members from a growing pool of expatriates employed in the early days of Qatar’s oil and gas industry, and their first production was Bird in Hand, staged in 1954.
Over subsequent decades, the Players have staged numerous productions – comedies, farce and serious plays, musicals and, in more recent times, Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan and modern classic musicals such as Les Miserables and Evita – and throughout their history, pantomime. According to The Doha Players, if you haven’t been to a ‘panto’ you haven’t lived. Last year’s was Snow White, and family audiences totaling over 2,000 attended at Qatar’s prestigious Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) thrilled by the cast of 60 with slapstick comedy, fun and games, songs, banter and audience participation.
Performances were held in their own purpose-built theatre, from 1979 until 2005; since then venues have included Qatar National Theatre and the Black Box Theater located in Education City, as well as schools and colleges. Far humbler venues have also hosted the Players productions over the years.
According to The Doha Players, thanks to the generosity of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, they have office and storage facilities at QNCC, and at key moments they can usually rely on sponsorship from some of Qatar’s leading firms.
Today, The Doha Players have members drawn from more than 20 countries, most with day jobs and all with a love of the performing arts. During the year and between performances of plays or shows, the society runs acting and dance workshops, play-readings, enjoy murder mystery evenings and, for the musically inclined, put on ‘open mic nights’ for musicians to entertain enthusiastic folk, punk and rock devotees.
Staging a production is a huge undertaking with three to six months or more of hard work until opening night. Auditions, rehearsals and planning take place at various locations around Doha.
The Doha Players are always on the lookout for local talent: directors, producers, actors, singers, dancers and musicians. And there’s plenty to do even if you don’t want to go on stage: lighting, sound, photography and video, props, costumes, set design, construction and painting, make up, hairdressing, stage crew, prompter and more. There are other jobs that aren’t immediately obvious: marketing, to help promote the group’s productions; ticket sales; graphic design for programmes and posters; and ‘front of house’ to check tickets and to show audience members to their seats. No previous experience is required and both seasoned performers and first-timers are welcome to get involved ‘back stage’.
Join The Doha Players, learn new skills, and meet new people of all ages and backgrounds. Membership currently costs QAR150 per year for adults and QAR250 for families.
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