Washington Post

As Saudi Arabia eases controls on culture and entertainment, artists dream and worry

Left, filmmaker Khaled Nadershah (in hat) and actress Summer Shesha on set with cast and crew in Jiddah in December.  Photo by Iman Al-Dabbagh for The Washington Post.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - The government of this ultraconservative kingdom has lately become a tireless patron of the arts, sponsoring concerts by Western performers such as New Age artist Yanni and promoting comic festivals and book fairs. Cinemas, banned for decades, are set to open soon.

The thaw is part of a push by Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to ease some social restrictions, and the flurry of official announcements has thrilled a generation of young Saudis for whom a night of music or movies most often meant trips abroad...

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