Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dubai's New Theatre

About six or seven years ago, BetterArf and I were at a Dubai Drama Group social evening, at the home of Brian and Sami Wilkie. They are both hugely talented actors, and successful businesspersons. They had just sold a business and were planning to ease off 'work'. Or rather, embark on a new challenge. Brian announced that they were going to start a project to build a proper theatre in Dubai. We were all dead impressed. They were somehow going to raise about Dhs 12 million to build this thing.

After going through many changes of location, design, massive increases in budget, hurdles, hassles, hoops and hullabaloo, the Dubai Community Theatre And Arts Centre (DUCTAC) finally opened its doors just before Christmas last year. It is located on the roof of The Mall Of The Emirates.

I have not had a chance to visit the place previously, but two nights ago BetterArf had a DDG Romeo and Juliet rehearsal there, and I went along to take photos. I have to say I was blown away. The main theatre (CentrePoint) is magnificent. When I heard it was going to be a 500-seater, I thought it would be too big for the kind of shows that were likely to happen there. But having seen it I must say it is one of the best theatre spaces I have ever been in. It is warm and intimate. Sightlines are excellent, acoustics are lovely, you almost feel you could reach out and touch the actors. It is amazing. It's also very red, which I'm sure helps with the intimacy and warmth.

There is a smaller studio space with retractable seating, and the Arts Centre with galleries, studios etc.

Get your bottoms along to DUCTAC this weekend to see DDG perform Romeo and Juliet.

There are two shows tomorrow, March 2 (3pm and 7pm) and two on Saturday (same times). Tickets are a paltry Dhs 50. It's an excellent production that combines elements of the traditional and the modern. Don't miss it! You'll also get to see MamaDuck, who, in case you didn't know, is a remarkably talented actor.

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Blogger Deepak Morris said...

I beg your pardon. Mamaduck is not just remarkable, she's outstanding. I have had the privilege of being onstage with her and count that as one of my accomplishments.

Sami has a voice and carriage to kill for (say 'hi' to her from me, please, and tell her I'm the little Indian she used to drop off at the Dubai Museum after rehearsals for "Beauty and the Beast", in case she can't recall who I am).

In any case, please convey my congratulations to Brian and Sami. mmmmmmm maybe I'll do my "Business Is War" at their grand new theatre. It looks superb and I'll trust your word on the acoustics and sight lines any day.

On a silly note, why don't they call it the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Performance Expanse (DUCTAPE)?


7:49 pm  
Blogger nzm said...

Excellent, Keefie.

You should post the image of the theatre and a teaser paragraph to lead to your blog post on the UAE Comm Blog so that more people become aware of DUCTAC and Romeo & Juliet.

Sorry that we're not in town to attend.

Break a leg, MamaDuck!

12:31 pm  
Blogger halfmanhalfbeer said...

Keefie: theatre is great, show was fab. And now I am sitting here thinking about which one is Mamaduck and how if only I had known on the night!


2:17 pm  
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12:51 am  

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