Dubai Culture revamps its youth theatre programme

Dubai Culture is developing a strategy to support what it calls “the growing requirements of the performing arts sector in the Emirate of Dubai, the UAE, and the wider region”. In practice this means a programme of professional workshops in the run up to the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre; this year there will be ten such workshops, for 2018 we are promised a significantly expanded programme.

The aim: “to prepare the next generation of young artists in an academic and practical way, in line with global best practices”.

For 2017 the workshops will be run by the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts in Cairo and are scheduled from July to November. There will also be a number of new competitions as part of the Festival – including script contests, with one rewarded by a production during the 2018 Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre.

The 2018 programme will be extended to include international theatre performances, international field visits, and seminars and forums to analyse the challenges faced by the performing arts sector here. More competitions and awards will also be introduced next year.

Fatima Al Jallaf, head of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, said the development programme builds on the current Festival – “the Festival has grown exponentially to become a major event for both the established and budding theatre community in the UAE, with our emerging talent workshop allowing new talents to seek the guidance of specialised theatre artists.” Now the need is to focus “on the academic development of the participants’ talents” and to provide “a sound education across various aspects of theatrical production”.

The 2017 programme kicks off on 2 July with workshops on scriptwriting, theatrical costumes and ‘voice & language for actors & presenters’. Make-Up and Theatre Production workshops will follow in August, September sees Acting and Directing for theatre, in October there’s Theatre Décor, and the last two workshops – on Lighting and Sound –run in November.

The festival is open to participants aged 15 years or over. The criteria includes “the discipline to commit to the hours of workshops, sufficient talent and desire to participate, and the ability to handle the pressures of intensive psychological and physical training” plus an aptitude for teamwork and a solid work ethic required. Interested participants can apply by email to

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