Thank Saudi Arabia is set to create its own opera house and new cinemas in its upcoming reforms.
Since the 1970s, the country has been without cinemas, which were banned due to the demands of the clerical establishment.
But the country’s government has opted to move ahead with cultural reforms known as “Vision 2030,” as announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz last year. The aim of these reforms is to create jobs and also open up the Saudi citizens culturally.
The other major motivation behind the reforms is to keep billions of dollars within the country. According to a report from The National, over $20 billion are being spent overseas by Saudis when they travel abroad to see shows or visit amusement parks in Dubai. The government hopes that by investing in cinemas and an opera house, a quarter of that $20 billion will be invested in domestic entertainment.
Of course, the clerical establishment remains a major establishment, with many of its members viewing the arts as corruption for youth.