Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts, heritage, and literature, successfully concluded the 12th edition of Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre which attained its desired objectives and was organised under the theme ‘Year of Zayed.’

Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General at Dubai Culture, commented: “This festival has proven that it plays an important role in shedding light on national talents, and has provided a unique platform for promising Emirati talent to enrich the theatre scene in the UAE with new young faces, which supports our mandate to promote the culture and arts scene in Dubai, and support these sectors to enhance the happiness and comfort of people living in Dubai, and translate the objectives of Dubai Plan of city of Happy, Creative & Empowered People.”

Al Nabouda, added: “The success we achieved through this year's edition was because of choosing ‘Year of Zayed,’ as the theme for this year’s edition of the festival, attracting theatre troupes from across the UAE. The ‘Year of Zayed’ theme is an important source of inspiration to the audience who enjoyed great performances rich in noble meanings and noble values that reflect the experiences of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”

Fatima Al Jallaf, Manager of the Theatre Section and Head of Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre at Dubai Culture, said: “We were pleased with the diversity of activities in this year's edition and were delighted with the number of participating theatre groups; it was truly a challenge for the judging panel to choose the best 10 as they were all up to par with professional troupes. We would like to express our deep gratitude to all participants, for the support of the theatre audience in Dubai, and for the engagement we witnessed during the performances. The success of the festival highlights the importance of the theatre sector among the different segments of society.”

09 Performances

During the festival, the audience witnessed 09 main plays, prepared and presented by more than 300 young men and women, in addition to the opening ceremony play ‘The Wise Poet’ by Al Ahli Dubai Theatre, which participated in the competition with ‘Time of the Ybab’ play, while ‘Another Cold Night’ was presented by Khor Fakkan Arts Theatre followed by ‘Mines,’ a play by Sharjah Public Art & Sharjah Modern Theatre. Fujairah Culture Centre participated also with the play ‘The 50th Journey.’

Dibba Al Hisn Theatre participated with ‘The Greediness,’ ‘Rust’ was presented by Dibba Society for Culture Arts and Theatre, and the final three were ‘Echo of the Soul’ by Dubai Folklore Theatre, ‘Containers’ by Bani Yas Theatre, and ‘I am not Mine’ by Sharjah National Theatre.

The contestants were able to reflect the values of the late Sheikh Zayed in their performances, focussing on the values of wisdom, respect, and sustainability, granting the festival an educational character to educate young people, prepare them for the future, and urge them to follow in the service of their homeland.

Personality of the Year

This year’s edition was took place in the Cultural and Scientific Association in Dubai, and the organising committee chose the Emirati artist Marie Al Halyan as ‘Personality of the Year’ for being one of the leading figures in the performing arts sector in recognition of his successful career and his many contributions to the national theatre in the UAE through his writing, poetry and acting, as well as through his literary, poetic, and media talents.

During the edition, new awards were introduced to match the spirit of the 12th edition and the diverse accompanying events enriched the festival’s atmosphere, enabling it to progress successes it achieved over the past years to enrich the theatrical movement at the local and international levels.

Continuation of success

On the last day of the festival, asides from the award for ‘Personality of the Year,’ the below awards were distributed to participants:

1.       New Talent award went to the director of ‘Mines,’ a performance by Sharjah Modern Theatre, Khalaf Jamal.

2.       Special Jury award went to the director of ‘Last Cold Night,’ a performance by Khor Fakkan Arts Theatre, Ilham Mohamed.

3.       Special Jury award went to the director of ‘Rust,’ a play by Dibba Society for Culture, Arts, & Theatre, Ibrahim Al Qhoum.

4.        Best Makeup went to Maram Abdulla Saleh, the makeup artist for the play ‘Time of the Yabab’ by Dubai Al Ahli Theatre

5.       Best Costume Design went to Khamees Al Shehhi for the play ‘Containers’ by Bani Yas Theatre

6.       Best Sound Effects and Music went to Abdulla Al Joran for the play ‘I Am Not Mine’ by Sharjah National Theatre.

7.       Best Lighting went to Rashid Abdullah Rashid for the play ‘Rust’ by Dibba Society for Culture, Arts, & Theatre.

8.       Best Set Design went to Salem Al Tamimi for the play ‘Time of the Yabab’ by Dubai Al Ahli Theatre

9.       Best Actress in a Secondary Role was blocked

10.   Best Actor in Secondary Role went to Badr Al Balooshi for his role in ‘Containers’ by Bani Yas Theatre

11.   Best Actress in a Leading Role went to Noura for her role in ‘Last Cold Night’ by Khor Fakkan Arts Theatre

12.   Best Actor in Leading Role went to Mohammed Adel for his role in ‘Mines’ by Sharjah Modern Theatre.

13.   Best Playwriting Award went to Ahmed Al Dhanhani for the play ‘Rust’ by Dibba Society for Culture, Arts, & Theatre

14.   Best Theatre Direction went to Salem Al Tamimi for ‘Time of the Yabab’ by Dubai Al Ahli Theatre

15.   Best Theatrical Performance in classical Arabic Award went to the theatrical performance by Sharjah Modern Theatre ‘Mines’

16.   Best Integrated Theatrical Performance Award went to the theatrical performance by Dubai Al Ahli Theatre ‘Time of the Yabab’.

This year's edition highlighted the important role that the festival plays in exploring and developing talent, and in finding real opportunities for them to enter the world of performing arts. The plays by the teams revealed a new constellation of aspiring young people who presented high-end creations to the public.

The festival, organised by Dubai Culture, aims to highlight the creativity of theatre groups in the UAE, and provide a platform to identify the talents and potentials of actors, directors, authors, decorators, producers, makeup experts, sound engineers, visual display and lighting professionals, and fashion designers.

Dubai Culture aims to enhance Dubai’s cultural scene and draw attention to the UAE’s rich heritage. The Authority’s mandate is to build bridges of constructive dialogue between different civilizations and cultures to enhance Dubai's position as a creative and sustainable global city for culture, heritage, arts, and literature, with the aim to empower these sectors by developing creative and innovative projects and initiatives locally, regionally, and globally.


Source: Cicero and Bernay