Abu Dhabi Festival Plus Bringing Shakespeare to life

While doing my Masters in Literary Studies, I always cringed when an assignment on popular classics came my way. But as I grew older and wiser, they grew on me… mostly due to the influence of living with Eric who as a stage actor loves performing classics and it looks like NJD is going that route too since her video of emulating Juliet has been a hit amongst friends.

So lo and behold, I am now a fan of Shakespeare (when I really should have been a fan while I was studying him). Naturally then it was delightful to hear of Midsummer Night’s Dream reinvigorating a Love of Shakespeare across UAE as the UK Theatre Company returned to the Abu Dhabi Festival 2012 with a specially commissioned production of the play.

The mesmerising performance at the packed Abu Dhabi Theatre held its audience in awe, as the actors played out one of Shakespeare’s most imaginative plays. As part of Abu Dhabi Festival’s education program, the interactive play breathes new life into this amazingly clever and classic Midsummer Night’s Dream and its cast of mortals, mechanicals and fairies is packed with dazzling poetry and sparkling comedy.

Her Excellency Mrs Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival thought the Director, Buckhurst and his talented cast did a superb job and delivered a powerful and passionate performance. A popular and enduring comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream features three interlocking plots set simultaneously in the woodland, and in the realm of fairyland under the light of the moon. The story, mixed with mortals, a feuding king and queen, magical practical jokes, love affairs and characters transformed in the most unlikely ways, danced across the delightfully constructed stage.

The Festival continues its commitment to showcasing the very best of the arts, with a schedule combining classical music, theatre and performing arts, jazz, ballet and fine arts until the 6th of April. The programme crosses cultures and explores the past, present and future of artistic expression.

Interesting acts to watch for would be Naseer Shamma and Global Ensemble. The ensemble will perform on the 24th of this month, and a unique fusion of music of the Spanish guitar, oud, percussion, upright bass, clarinet, harp and piano will transcend genres and blend influences. The act is an Abu Dhabi Festival Commission and World Premiere event.

There will also be an Emirati flavoured adaptation of the well-known Restoration comedy, The Rivals, by Richard Sheridan by Abu Dhabi based Resuscitation Theatre. Not to miss as well would be Arab musician Ibrahim Latoof and Riwaq Al Fikr, Royal Opera House’s production of Beloved Friend and SUTRA: a stunning blend of Kung Fu, Tai Chi and contemporary dance bough by the illustrious Sadler’s Well Theatre in London and feature 17 monks of the Shaolin temple in China. I cant wait to see this…i reckon its worth a journey into Abu Dhabi to get a glimpse of SUTRA.

The dynamic team at The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) have done an amazing job in their bid to nurture the arts, education, culture and creativity for the benefit of society and the advancement of Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision.

ADMAF’s broad programme of initiatives and events – including the Abu Dhabi Festival and the Young Media Leaders, The Nationals’ Gallery and The Artists’ Studio among many others – brings together audiences of all ages and nationalities. Through its educational and community programmes, it nurtures the creative talent of the UAE and beyond, in partnership with leading national and international institutions….how cool is that?

London’s Globe Theater Brings Love of Shakespeare to Abu Dhabi - IMAGE BY ADMAF


I loved 'Aquarium' by Beatriz Milhazes at the Cartier enclave in Art Dubai

The last two evenings have been awesome with me doing whistle stop tours of the galleries at Art Dubai after work.

Its awesome to see so many familiar faces and art enthusiasts lapping it up….my favourite area this year has to be the Cartier enclave. I didn’t want to leave as it was like a mini paradise set up to entice us and although I am not such a great fan of most Cartier jewellery, I have to say they really know how to pull the crowds with the ambience they have created at this years Art Dubai.

One hot news that has emerged is that the judges of the John Jones Art on Paper Award have selected artists Hassan Sharif (UAE) and Luis Camnitzer (Uraguay) as dual recipients of the inaugural award. The two artists are shown on the stand of New York gallery Alexander Gray Associates…. I went to see their gallery amongst others and they have some super talented people this year featured at the stands.

This Award was conceived by master framers John Jones Ltd. and Art Dubai to recognize the potential for excellence and innovation for works made on paper.  Sharif and Camnitzer will be given the opportunity to present a dedicated exhibition in Dubai between March 2012-2013, and in addition to the artists receiving a cash prize, the winning works will be acquired by the John Jones Contemporary Art Collection in London.

I also came across the information on SIKKA and the ArtBus concept which I think is a superb idea for people who really want to see all the art scene that Dubai has to offer without worrying about transport, parking etc….diva likes this idea heaps.

To make it more interesting,  the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture commissioned UAE-based artist UBIK, to design the SIKKA ArtBus. The ArtBus, organised by ArtintheCity and thejamjar, in partnership with the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, serves as a convenient guide for visitors to various art fairs, galleries, educational and interactive talks, and other art events taking place in Dubai. Another bus acts as a complimentary ArtBus shuttle, taking passengers to and from SIKKA 2012, until March 24.

SIKKA 2012 is held at the historic Al Bastakiya, the vibrant cultural nerve-centre of Dubai….there is so much more to enjoy in terms of Art in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi that I don’t know where to start and where to stop…..all I can say is that the UAE totally rocks when it comes to the Art scene this month. There is no place in the world I would like to be in right now, my home country Fiji Islands included (Fiji is a paradise and the way the world should be so me saying that in March I reckon UAE is more fun than Fiji means a lot).


The Cartier area at Art Dubai