AlRawabi School for Girls: Jordan's new Netflix drama seeks to resonate with young female audience

AlRawabi School for Girls
3 min read
AlRawabi School for Girls will premiere this week. While there are mixed feelings about the new show after Netflix last Jordanian production 'Jinn', the drama's producers believe it fills a gap and brings a much-needed female perspective.

The trailer for AlRawabi School for Girls, a new Netflix original series due to premiere on August 12, is bringing back memories of the Jordanian teen-drama series Jinn which was aired on the same network in the summer of 2019.

At the time, the controversial drama provoked a wave of hostility on social media as critics slammed the programme as 'unrepresentative' of Jordanian customs and traditions, due to scenes some described as 'steamy' which were acted out by a cast of little-known actors in the five-part series about jinns in the Jordanian city of Petra. 

The reaction reached a climax when Amman's public prosecution office demanded that the government's cybercrime unit take all necessary measures to prevent the broadcasting of the series, arguing that it contained 'immoral scenes'.

Netflix however described the negative responses to the series as 'a bullying campaign'.

Live Story

All this has led to the new series AlRawabi School for Girls receiving a cautious reception. The plot of the drama revolves around one girl's attempt to take revenge on her fellow students after being bullied by them before she discovers that there are two sides to every person and that there is good in everyone however bad they seem.  

The series was directed by actress and producer Tima Shomali, who also co-wrote the story, screenplay and script, alongside Shirin Kamal and Islam Shamouli. The drama stars Rakeen Sa'ad, Andria Tayeh, Noor Taher, Joanna Arida, Salsabiela, Yara Mustafa, Nadera Emran and Reem Saadeh.

"When I was a teenager at school, there were no TV programmes talking about girls our age. There weren't many dramas, and I felt no connection to those that existed – nothing appealed to me," Tima explains.

"When I was a teenager at school, there were no TV programmes talking about girls our age. There weren't many dramas, and I felt no connection to those that existed – nothing appealed to me"

Since then, not much has changed – there are still very few series aimed at a young audience, and in particular a female audience. This is where the idea of a series that would connect with teenage girls and young people around the world came from. In short, AlRawabi School for Girls is a project I have been dreaming about for a long time, and which has taken years of dedication, preparation and hard work. What started as ideas we wrote with chalk on a blackboard in our office is now an original series on Netflix."

On the vision the team have tried to convey with the series, Tima clarifies that "we are aiming to produce an Arab drama series that resonates with young people – we want to create an imaginary world full of dramatic events and secrets through which the stories of the young women unfolds. We also want to shine a light on the challenges which young women can face at this age."

Co-creator Shireen Kamal says: "As young women, we always lacked dramas about women and how they view their issues. For this reason, we have decided on the vision for this series and all the details of the world of AlRawabi: the characters, décor, outfits, colours, even the lighting and the music. The characters were central, as they define how the events unfold in the series. So we had to take a lot of care choosing actresses which could embody these characters completely and connect with them and their experiences in the series."

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here.