Iftah Ya Simsim, the hugely popular Arabic adaptation of Sesame Street that enjoyed its peak of popularity in the eighties, is currently undergoing a reboot at Abu Dhabi's twofour54 studios, as previously reported in The National.
This week the show’s producers announced that the complete cast of actors and puppeteers are now assembled in Abu Dhabi and ready to start shooting the show’s studio segments. Heading up a pan-Arab team of puppeteers, including talent from Syria and Jordan, are Saudi Abdullah Kassem and Emirati Asma Alshamsi, who will ‘play’ the lead muppet pair No’man and Shams.
Kassem says: "This has been a venture that I have been looking forward to ever since I was taken on board Iftah Ya Simsim. I am so enthusiastic to finally start working on such a show that is a far more enriching and amazing experience than I had ever imagined."
A second Saudi/Emirati pairing, Abdulla Rafaah and Fatma Al Taei will play the show’s lead human characters, Rashid and Amal.
Cairo Arafat, MD of producer Bidaya Media, adds: "This is an exciting time as we finally see all our hard work and preparation being executed with the start of the in-studio production, for Iftah Ya Simsim! Our talent represents the potential within the region and the puppeteers are excited to begin work on this venture."