At least three performers were stabbed to death during a play in Saudi Arabia on Monday, according to reports.

The stabbing happened during a live presentation on the stage of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Park in the Malaz district of Riyadh.

The culprit, a 33-year-old expatriate of Yemeni nationality, was seized immediately after storming the theatre and was arrested. The knife used in the attack was seized in his possession.

“Riyadh police have arrested an Arab resident in possession of a knife after he stabbed two men and a woman who were members of a theatrical group,” Al-Ekhbariya television reported.

Medical care was provided to the injured who suffered superficial wounds. Their health is stable and they are receiving the necessary medical care, reports added.

The man was seen stomping onto the stage to attack performers in theatrical costumes during a musical performance, in footage broadcast on Ekbariya.

The attack comes as Saudi Arabia boosts entertainment for its citizens as the Muslim kingdom seeks to transform its ultra-conservative image.

The country’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced reforms including allowing concerts, reopening cinemas and lifting a ban on women driving as part of a modernisation drive.

Developing the tourism and leisure sector is one of the foundations of his Vision 2030 plan to prepare the Arab world’s largest economy for the post-oil era.

Some Saudis also view the push for entertainment as an attempt to blunt public frustration over an economic downturn and high youth unemployment in the petro-state.

(With inputs from AFP)