The Newsmakers

Saudi's 35-year ban on cinemas lifted | Showcase

Backed by an aggressive modernization project, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is embarking on bold reforms, many of which are tackling societal taboos, head on. In the light of the recent lifting of a 35-year ban on cinemas, Showcase speaks to art writer Melissa Gronlund for more on how the radical reforms under the country's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, are affecting the country's artistic and cultural scene. And it's already had a direct affect on Saudi Arabia's artistic and cultural life. Under the radical reforms of the country's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the kingdom recently lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas. An opera house is under construction, Cirque du Soleil is coming, and a huge "entertainment city" almost as big as Las Vegas is being built near Riyadh. Most recently, mixed-gender music events have brought unfamiliar sounds to the streets of the liberal coastal city of Jeddah, while public art installations are appearing in downtown Mecca. They're all part of a 64 billion dollar investment being made into Saudi Arabia's cultural infrastructure over the next decade. To talk more about Saudi Arabia's culture scene under the rule of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, I am joined from Abu Dhabi by art writer Melissa Gronlund.

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