Maisah Sobaihi is the first Academic Saudi woman to perform in the countries of the European Union, where she has staged social and cultural one woman shows. The one man/woman show is a theatrical genre in which only one actor performs several roles, which requires multiple capacities from the entertainer.
The academic and writer Maisah Sobaihi has a PhD in English Literature from the University of London. She is an assistant professor at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and began her theatrical career after graduating from the university, but her passion for this art began at an early age. She was an active member in the theater club of the school and her passion for theater followed her even in the United States.
She was able to participate in the Edinburgh Festival, one of the oldest art events in the world, held every year in the Scottish capital for more than 70 years. She was the first Saudi woman to perform a play entitled “Upside down” at the festival which revolved around the theme of “polygamy”.
The image of Saudi women in the West
Maisah said that she wants to work on raising awareness of the Saudi social issues at a global level. “Changing the stereotype of the West over Saudi women is primarily the responsibility of the Saudis,” she said to Al Arabiya. “There is an urgent need to advertise the image of Saudi women, instead of leaving room for the spread of misconceptions and misrepresentations.”
She explained that her performance at the Edinburgh Festival was attended by a large European audience, although she presented there for the first time. The public was curious to see and hear what a Saudi woman has to say. This emphasizes how important it is for Saudis to have a presence and a permanent role in the platforms of art and plays around the world.
Despite only having performed in Europe, she said that she is looking forward to perform local shows in Saudi Arabia, especially with the emergence of interest in theatrical arts by the Society of Culture and Arts as well as by the entertainment commission saying, “I am looking forward to working with these institutions and performing plays in Arabic so that we can develop the culture of theater in Saudi Arabia.”