Dubai’s fledgling theatre scene may not be comparable to that of Broadway in New York or London’s West End, but there’s still plenty going on to keep eager thespians entertained.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah is home to Dubai’s first purpose-built theatre. Opened in 2004, it is a luxurious 442-seat venue that was designed by stage professionals. It boasts technical facilities to satisfy a range of productions, including drama, opera, musicals, film screenings and magic shows. The theatre regularly welcomes companies from across the globe, with past productions including Shakespeare plays, popular dramas such as The Woman in Black, musicals of the likes of The Wizard of Oz (which returns in April), Oliver and The Sound of Music, as well as concerts, comedy acts (John Cleese regularly makes an appearance), acrobatics, circus shows and ballet performances. Confirmed upcoming productions include The Gruffalo’s Child, March 21-22, and The Wizard of Oz, April 3-18. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.madinattheatre.com (04 366 6546).
Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (Ductac)
Ductac opened in 2006 and is a non-profit, cross-community creative centre hosting a multitude of classes and art exhibitions as well as national and international shows and performances. The centre includes the fully-equipped Kilachand Studio Theatre, an art gallery, dance studios, rehearsal rooms, 15 artists’ studios and classrooms, a pottery workshop and – most importantly for theatre lovers and thespians – the Centrepoint Theatre. It can accommodate 543-seated spectators and boasts a varied schedule of plays, events and performances. Ductac also hosts a number of drama and dance courses as well as workshops for children of all ages. Current stage productions include What The Ladybird Heard, March 12-16. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.ductac.org, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 341 4777).
It’s not just the professionals who walk the boards in Dubai, because drama in the city also incorporates a healthy amateur dramatics scene, fuelled by residents’ love of theatre and their willingness and eagerness to perform on stage and entertain audiences. Here’s what you can expect.
Drama Dubai For those eager to get into acting for the first time, perfect their skill or simply get involved in the Dubai arts scene on a grassroots level, this community-focused group, with its base in Al Quoz, is just the ticket. Dubai Drama organises regular workshops exploring script-work, improvisation, characterisation and more, as well as monologues, performances and plenty of other productions. The Courtyard Playhouse, The Courtyard, Al Quoz 1, www.dramaworkshopsdubai.com (050 9861761).
Backstage This is a non-profit, community theatre group of all ages and backgrounds dedicated to performing quality, professional-level productions. Their goal is to highlight Dubai’s talent while raising awareness of theatre, drama and the arts. Membership is open to all, costs just Dhs100 for the year and enables participation in the community’s numerous productions – be it acting, directing, writing, producing, technical or anything else. As most Backstage members either work or study during the day, auditions and rehearsals are conveniently held at times to suit most people’s work life schedules. The community also regularly organises socials and other events, making it easy to meet like-minded Dubai residents who share a passion for all things theatre. For more information, visit www.backstagedubai.com or send an email to email@example.com.