Interview with Dubai’s The Hive co-founder

We speak to Darshana Thakkar from Dubai’s The Hive

Dubai is home to many creative arts and theatre spaces, but The Hive is a welcoming addition to the local scene, with its focus on all things musical, theatrical and creative in general.

Located in Bur Dubai, the new venue offers a variety of workshops with the main programme of events concentrating on theatre. ‘It’s an open canvas for whatever anybody wants to do with the space,’ says its owner and founder Darshana Thakkar.

Darshana founded and launched The Hive with her husband Jimish after looking for a rehearsal space for their band, as well as a location to hold various theatrical productions. ‘My husband is a creative who has worked in theatre for more than a decade now. When I took a break after I had my daughter, I started helping him backstage, and that’s how I fell in love with it,’ Darshana says.

The couple have lived in Dubai for 16 years. Originally from India, they say that theatres in Mumbai provided the inspiration for this enterprise, and that their aim has been to create a space that is ‘perfect for experimental, unconventional and intimate’ art experiences. ‘We want to provide a venue that allows for almost anything – to create, rehearse and perform in, to exhibit from, and to jam in,’ Darshana says of the venue, which is capable of seating 60 to 75 people in an informal set-up. ‘If you’ve always wanted to do any or all of the above but didn’t quite know where to start, you can start here.’

The duo were also keen to answer demand from photographers, art galleries, creative writers and freelance journalists in the local community for a dedicated workspace. As such, the centre’s facilities include a fully functional stage with professional lighting; a rehearsal room with drum kits, guitars, keyboards and microphones and a dance studio that can be hired by those who need it. It can also be transformed into exhibition space.

To top it all off, experts in the arts teach classes here. Staff include musician Nishant Jaiswal and Bollywood dancer and choreographer Krishna Khamkar. ‘If someone wants to direct a play, for example, we are here to help, even if that person is a beginner,’ says Darshana.

Upcoming activities include an open-mic night, auditions for an in-house non-profit play and workshops on drama, dance, storytelling, make-up, photography and chalk art, all with the aim of – according to The Hive’s co-founder Jimish – ‘cultivating talent and offering the deserving creative an unfussy, do-what-you-want-with-it space’.

With an open and welcoming policy for all to collaborate artistically, it might just produce the next Picasso, DiCaprio or Ginger Rodgers.
The Hive, Mostafawi Business Centre, outside Al Fahidi Metro stration, Bur Dubai, (050 455 3462).

Essential upcoming events at The Hive

Bollywood Stomp
This dance-fitness programme combines dynamic choreography and intensive workouts with the hottest music from Bollywood.
Dhs350 (monthly classes). Mon-Wed 9am-10am, 7pm-8pm; Fri 3pm-4pm; Sat noon-1pm.

Chalk Art Saturdays
Show off your chalkboard drawing skills and win prizes. Selected winners will also be given the opportunity to showcase their art on a ten-metre chalk of fame wall.
Free. RSVP to attend. Last Saturday of every month, 4pm-6pm.

Adult Theatre Workshops
Find out how your entire life has prepared you to act. If you haven’t been on stage since school or have always held a secret dramatic desire, this course offers you the opportunity to give acting a whirl. The class begins with a review of basic acting skills and quickly progresses through improvisations, exercises, cold readings and script analysis to acting out monologues and scenes from theatre and film. Participants can expect to be involved in every area of theatre production from design, directing, stage management and, of course, acting.
Register at Dhs900 a term (April to June). Call for times.

Art Workshops
Appealing to the curious beginner and the experienced artist, The Hive offers a broad range of courses in a fun and supportive studio environment. The adult programme includes classes in figure drawing, acrylic painting, oil painting, working with watercolours, print-making, working with mixed media, sculpture, stone carving,
and more.
Dhs400-1,000 (depending on level and type of art form chosen). Rates are for four- to seven-day workshops that take place on weekday mornings and in the evenings at weekends. Call for further details and times.

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