Egypt’s Culture Ministry to broadcast concerts, ballets, plays for free online

Egypt’s Culture Ministry announced in a statement on Friday that it would broadcast concerts, ballets, plays, and short films from the Ministry’s archives on its YouTube channel and social media accounts, to encourage Egyptians to stay home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Culture Minister Enas Abdel Dayem said that the initiative, entitled “Culture in Your Hands,” comes as an alternative to the various cultural and artistic events that were cancelled as part of precautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The initiative will give the public access to “rare” artistic performances online in light of the suspension of cultural activities and large gatherings due to the current emergency conditions, the statement read, adding that the initiative hopes to encourage Egyptians to stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The initiative, the statement read, represents a step toward “digital transformation.”

Developers are currently adding the final touches on the broadcast program, scheduled to be launched next week.

Some of the selected material include rare works that will be presented for the first time, including the plays “Sallem Nafsak” (Turn Yourself In), “Qahwa Sada” (Black Coffee), and “Ayna Ashbahy?” (Where Are My Ghosts?).

Concerts and Arabic music festivals featuring stars like Omar Khairat, as well as the ballet El Leila El Kebira and the ballet Zorba the Greek, will be available for streaming online alongside short films and documentaries as part of the initiative, according to the statement.

In a related context, MBC Masr channel launched on Thursday a campaign entitled “Fi al-Beit Khalek..we hanslek” (Stay home..We will entertain you), calling on people to stay inside as much as possible to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Egypt.

The campaign includes a new program of various TV series and Egyptian and international films set to be broadcast daily.

Also on Thursday, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly moved to close all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, nightclubs, bars, malls, shops and mobile food carts nationwide, from 7:00 pm until 6:00 am each evening through March 31.

Delivery services, as well as stores selling essential foodstuffs of medicines like groceries, pharmacies and supermarkets, are exempted from the decree.

Flight have also been suspended through March 31 and schools and universities closed for two weeks. Meanwhile, the Cairo Opera House has suspended performances until further notice, theaters have been shuttered, and various concerts and cultural events have been cancelled amid a ban on large gatherings.

Egypt had confirmed 256 cases of coronavirus and seven deaths as of Thursday evening.

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