„Souk Okaz“ – an ancient market place that dates back to the times of the prophet Mohammed and that used to be one of the holy places of Islam, besides Makkah and Medina. It’s the place where scorpions and dromedaries roam, and the silk road crossed with the frankincense trail coming from the south of the Arabian Peninsula. Nowadays, it’s a vibrant festival site. Located about 150km East of Makkah in the Saudi Arabian desert, Souk Okaz is one of the highlights of the Ta’if Season – one of eleven festivals whose goal it is to globally position the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an important travel destination.
Together with the Lead Agency Black Engineering, battleROYAL.berlin have created an impressive show experience to honour the history and heritage of the Souks as an important communications hub, trading place and melting pot of art, literature and philosophy. We took the 2,000 VIP guests on an emotional journey through the epochs and memorable moments of the souks, diving deep into Arabian performance cultures. They experienced this journey through the eyes of four curious children. In addition, the show featured first-class music legends, a 160 strong ensemble, real camels and an incredible, 70 m wide stage. The scenography was designed and built to correspond to the original sacred rock on which countless poetic contests once took place.
It was a true privilege to have seen such a show in my lifetime.Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud, Governor of Makkah Province, Former Minister of Education.
Conceived by Creative Director Gavin Robins and Associate Director Brendan Shelper, we were on the ground in Ta’if together with a great bunch of choreographers turning a performance concept into a show. With a great team, we wrestled with sandstorms, pouring rain (in the desert) and the holy days of Hadj – all in two crazy and great weeks on site to make the unthinkable possible. The result was a heartwarming show with great young talents, live recited poems, traditional musicians and dancers, dozens of camels and a massive video mapping.
Creative Director Gavin Robins
Associate Creative Director Brendan Shelper (battleROYAL.berlin)
Creative Coordinator Andy Machals
Choreographers Denis We, Florian Bücking, Joseph Hunt, Chan Arik, Terry Lee Stewart
Music Christian Steinhäuser
Video & Projection Design Territory Studios London
Artistic Producer Annamaria Marrano
Artistic Coordinator Waidh Dona
Props Manager Claudia Alongi
Costume Manager Oxana Rausch
Watch the entire show over on YouTube.
Read a blog post about this experience as show maker.
Photo Credits: battleROYAL.berlin (Brendan Shelper); Andy Machals (Instagram:@andymachals), Middle East Broadcasting Center Saudi Arabia (MBC).
SOUK OKAZ - Arabs Anno 501. Large-scale arena show with a cast of more than 200 at the occasion of Ta'if Season 2019, Saudi-Arabia.
Creative Coordination / Creative Assistant to associate show director Brendan Shelper
Gavin Robins, Massimo Fogliati (Black Engineering), Christian Steinhäuser, Denis We, Territory Studios London.
20 August 2019