The Biggest Day in UAE Performing Arts is … Tuesday?

The Biggest Day in UAE Performing Arts is … Tuesday?


How did this happen? There is a Tuesday – a Tuesday of all days – packed with shows in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Not major concerts either: performance arts – professional and amateur, touring and local, small and large.

It seems that the UAE has finally hit maturity in its arts scene. Ok… maybe not maturity, more like an angsty, early 20-something trying to find her way in the world, but with all the potential to bear witness to some amazing feats.

So, maybe people will stop saying “there’s no culture here” and, instead, start noticing what there is going on. Do we need more? Yes. But, I digress…

So here’s what’s on today:

Contemporary Theatre (Professional): An Iliad

We have not been graced with an opportunity like this in quite some time… if ever. Real, contemporary theatre. Not a musical. Not one of those big “can’t miss” spectacles, with song and dance numbers. (You definitely shouldn’t miss this, but it’s just not a massive, hype marketing thing.)

An Iliad is a one man show with Tony-award winner Denis O’Hare – known for his television roles in True Blood and American Horror Story – retelling Homer’s story of the Iliad with punches of modern vernacular. I know you might not consider a 2700-year-old epic to be contemporary, but the form and the telling is contemporary, the story itself does not have to be.

An Iliad is the Critic Pick for the Month of March, the Critic Pick of the Week, Best on a Budget pick, and Phil’s Pick of the Week.

Contemporary Theatre (Amateur): Art

It’s funny that “Tony” is mentioned a few times in this article, but here we have another Tony-award winner in Yasmina Reza. Granted, this is not the Broadway or original Parisian production, but local independent theatre company H72 Productions gives a laudable effort in bringing this 3-man comedy to life. Capping off its 6-show run at The Junction, Art would be a delight for anyone looking for a slightly more intimate, but fun (and funny!), evening.

Professional Comedy: Montreux Comedy

Parlez vous Francais? Want to get your hon hon hon on? The local edition of the popular Swiss comedy festival, the biggest comedy festival in Europe, is here in the UAE this week. Tonight is the French edition at the is. So, if you want a good laugh from some great comedians then head off to Saadiyat Island.

This is one of our picks for Best Night Out with Friends. 

Poetic and Performance Art: There Are No Strangers Here

The Noble Poetry Club returns with a little St. Paddy’s inspiration. Irish poet Yeats is the featured artist this time around. And with Irish in the mix, Noble has teamed up with local independent theatre company Danú Productions whose Irish-ness and quality make them excellent partners.

Like last time, dance troupe The Ripple Effect will be part of the performances. As such, this will be a nice mix of poetry and art, with a great communal feel honoring another Nobel laureate. This is one night only so this will be your only chance to be part.

This is our pick for Best on a Budget and Lamya’s Pick of the Week. The Camel Stub host Lamya and Qassab will be performing in this event. 

A Bit-of-Everything: Art Week and Sikka Art Fair

Perhaps it’s not surprising that all of this happens during Art Week. There’s something about spring that inspires creativity. In the north, I would say this is due to the pleasant anticipation of beautiful weather. But, here in the UAE, I would say it’s our of fear of the summer heat stifling any creative energy.

Art Week crams in a bit of everything you could ask for across Dubai, from performance arts to visual and fine arts. The Sikka Art Fair takes place in the Al Fahidi Historical Heighbourhood. Art Week in Al Quoz and Alserkal Avenue showcases a great mix of international and local talent.

See you all around!

About author
Profile photo of Phil Apaza

Phil Apaza

On and around the stage since age 7, Phil has been on nearly every side of it, both professional and amateur. He has been involved in over 100 productions, from major corporate and government events to playing an on-stage prop in a walk-on role.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *