Fairy tale evening at the German Embassy


By Waqar Naseem Wamiq

— The German Embassy opened its doors to German and Saudi families for an evening of fairy tales. Two pupils from the German International School in Riyadh, Ms. Manar Sharif and Ms. Dilara Abdalah, read in German two all-time favorites among the famous Grimm’s fairy tales, “The Frog King” and “Hansel and Gretel”.

The same stories were then told again by experienced Saudi storytellers in Arabic, Mohammed Azzam Zubaidi and Ms. Rima Jamil Ahmad Alhaniny.

“We want to engage different groups of the broader public,” explained Dr. Rafael Heinisch, cultural attaché at the German Embassy.

“With this event, we intended to bring German and Saudi families together and to showcase not only the German fairy tale heritage but also the Saudi tradition of oral storytelling,” he added.

Grimm’s fairy tales were collected by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the beginning of the 19th century. Their famous collection is based on oral tales, which were handed down from generation to generation. Between 1812 and 1857, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published several editions of their collection, which includes “Snowwhite”, “Cinderella”, “The Seven Ravens”, “Rumpelstilskin” and “Hans in Luck”.

As a follow up to the fairy tale evening, the embassy will offer a workshop on fairy tale storytelling for interested young Saudis from 9 to 16 years where experienced storytellers — Mohammed Azzam Zubaidi, Ms. Rima Jamil Ahmad Alhaniny and Ms. Alaa Fahad Alanazi — will initiate keen youngsters into the secrets of engaging with an audience.

The workshop will run from April 3 to 5, will be based on Grimm’s fairy tales and culminate in a public presentation on April 8 in the Goethe Institute in Um Al Hamam.

“We have sent out a call for participation in the workshop via our Twitter account (@germanyinksa). We ask potential participants to share with us a short video clip of themselves telling a story. Based on these clips we will select the participants for the workshop,” explained Dr. Rafael Heinisch.