Sesame Street Muppets from UAE, India and Afghanistan gather for training workshop at twofour54

06 December 2016
Sesame Street Muppets from UAE, India and Afghanistan gather for training workshop at twofour54

Sesame Street Muppeteers from the UAE, India and Afghanistan gathered in Abu Dhabi last week for the first-ever international exchange of creative ideas and production techniques from Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street.

The four-day training workshop was co-hosted by Abu Dhabi’s media zone, twofour54, and Bidaya Media, the company responsible for bringing the Arabic version of Sesame Street, Iftah Ya Simsim, back to GCC screens last year after a 20-year hiatus.

Sesame Street producers and a muppeteer from India’s version of Sesame Street, Galli Galli Sim Sim, oversaw the workshop which focused on script reading, live action production and puppeteering. twofour54 provided the studio space and production equipment for the workshop. The dynamic sessions provided a skills refresher for the UAE team and helped the Afghan team to further expand their production capabilities as they embark on the sixth season of its television and radio series, under the title Baghch-e-Simsim. The ground-breaking Afghan version of Sesame Street is produced in collaboration with Lapis Communications (the strategic communications division of the MOBY Group, which is based in Abu Dhabi) and Equal Access.

Acting CEO of twofour54, Maryam Al Mheiri, said: “twofour54 campus partner, Bidaya Media, is at the forefront of edutainment content creation in our region and was the driving force behind last year’s Arabic revival of beloved children’s programme, Iftah Ya Simsim. We saw hosting this workshop with Bidaya as an opportunity to expand the industry talent we have here in Abu Dhabi, while at the same time supporting the wider content creation industry beyond our region.

Managing Director of Bidaya Media, Dr. Cairo Arafat, said: “There is a lot of excitement, creativity and learning taking place at Bidaya Media. Our Sesame Street family from Afghanistan, India and in Abu Dhabi all collaborated seamlessly to bring more fun, laughter and learning to children in our part of the world. ‘Cooperation’ is our word of the day!”

The first season of the new Iftah Ya Simsim in the GCC was created entirely in Abu Dhabi and aired in millions of households after its launch last September. The project was led by Bidaya Media, which provided technical, educational and creative oversight for the programme, working closely with Sesame Workshop, to ensure that research and production standards were met. Bidaya also worked closely with Abu Dhabi Education Council to ensure that scripts were in line with local educational objectives.

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