The Jordanian actress/artist, Zainab Al-Shrouf, was overjoyed for obtaining a complete scholarship at the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy and realising her dream of completing her university education after being postponed for 16 years.
Al-Shrouf – who moved from Amman to Sharjah and started attending the Academy at the beginning of this week – said that she joined the College of Art and Design at the University of Jordan at the end of 2004. However, since financial costs were expensive for a young woman at the beginning of her career/path, she could not continue after she finished the first semester of her third year.
She said: “I tried to reconcile work and study but I was not able to secure the registration fee for the courses. Due to training requirements, I moved to Cairo at the time and applied at the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts on the grounds that the expenses were less and that accommodation was available, especially since my mother is Egyptian. Despite passing the entry exam, I wasn’t able to register for two consecutive years due to bureaucratic reasons.”
Al-Shrouf—who is one of the most prominent actresses of her generation on stage, and had experiences in films and television dramas—said: “I entered into a state of depression and despair and when I returned to Amman I was surprised that the University of Jordan suspended the possibility of completing my education because I dropped out of studies. I submitted a petition that was rejected, and I received the same response when I turned to the management.”
She explained further: “I temporarily moved away from art but my love for acting brought me back in 2011, so I decided to develop myself without finishing my studies at the university and enrolled in workshops and courses, and I sought to acquire artistic/technical skills and learn from focused observations until I became a professional trainer/practitioner of arts, and participated in artistic works within the limited opportunities.”
Al-Shrouf won the Best Actress Award at the Jordanian Youth Festival last year for the play Dareen. She also received a special mention of her outstanding performance from the jury of the Rum Festival in 2018 for her work besides prominent actors in Iridescent Dream Times. In addition, she won critical and public praise for her remarkable presence in acting. She pointed out that, despite it all, she felt that something was missing; her dream of completing her studies.
She said: “After 16 years of waiting and facing some artistic marginalisation, the Academy opens its doors and welcomes me with a full scholarship to start as a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in ‘Acting’ after taking into account some of my previous achievements at the University of Jordan, and to finally fulfil my dream.”