x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Arabic Sesame Street team return from New York workshop

Fifteen writers and producers from Bidaya Media have been at the Sesame Street studio in New York city since mid-December for training workshops.

Fifteen writers and producers from Bidaya Media, a company based at Abu Dhabi twofour54 media hub, were at the Sesame Street studio in New York to learn production techniques from veteran staff of the popular, long-running children's programme that will soon be produced in Arabic. Courtesy Bidaya
Fifteen writers and producers from Bidaya Media, a company based at Abu Dhabi twofour54 media hub, were at the Sesame Street studio in New York to learn production techniques from veteran staff of the popular, long-running children's programme that will soon be produced in Arabic. Courtesy Bidaya

ABU DHABI // The production team of Iftah Ya Sim Sim, a revival of the Arabic-language version of Sesame Street, has returned from a training workshop in New York.

Fifteen writers and producers from Bidaya Media, a company based at Abu Dhabi twofour54 media hub, have been at the Sesame Street studio in the American city since mid-December.

They received tuition from veteran staff and learnt about the educational methodology and production techniques behind the popular, long-running show.

“There was a good concerted effort from writers and producers there,” said Noura Khori, an Emirati who has been hired as a scriptwriter for the show. “We got hands-on experience and could watch and observe the actors carrying out the shows.

“It was an eye-opening experience and gave us a feel for what to look out for when creating the programme for the Arabian Gulf.

“We needed to have that Sesame spirit in all that we write, so when things weren’t exactly right we were taught how to turn it around.

“The major segments of the show have to be based on an educational agenda, so it is challenging.”

The team has also been coordinating the project with the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (Abegs), to help develop the curriculum and educational objectives of the programme. 

“We recognise the media’s potential as an educational tool,” said Dr Ali Al Karni, the director general of Abegs. “Iftah Ya Sim Sim is one of our proud traditions celebrating our respect for education and our love for children.”

Filming and post-production of the show will take place throughout 2014 using the facilities at twofour54’s television and film services arm, Intaj.

It is hoped that the show will begin broadcasting by the end of the year.

Bidaya has received sponsorship for the project from Mubadala Development Company, with support from experts from the Educational Advisory Council.

The original Iftah Ya Sim Sim was produced in Kuwait, was broadcast for 11 years until it was halted by the Iraqi invasion of the country in 1990.

ksinclair@thenational.ae