Experience The Breathtaking Extravaganza Of Full Scale Productions At The Region’s Top Theatres
Sitting in a dark room among hushed whispers, awaiting the red satin curtains to part ways and reveal the story ready to be told is just a snippet of the theatre ambiance. On that stage, spectators would get to see everything from a riveting play to an upbeat dance performance, truly one of the purest forms of entertainment still in existence. If you are a theatre lover yourself and want to bear witness to a wide range of eclectic performances, we have put together the top theatres you can visit across the region.
Dubai Opera (UAE)
Nestled along Downtown Dubai is the iconic dhow shaped 650,000 sq building known as the Dubai Opera built back in 2016. The entire space is the kind that exudes a magical quality, constructed in a way that allows it to transform into three different modes; alternating between being a theatre, concert hall and “flat floor” where banquets and events are held. Its theatre mode alone can seat up to 2000 people and is known to be a staging ground for large-scale drama productions, musicals and ballet. This year alone, there is an exciting lineup of performances including the widely acclaimed West Side Story coming in late April as well as the Moscow Ballet’s rendition of Sleeping Beauty in June.
Royal Opera House (Oman)
Located in the Shati Al-Qurm district of Muscat is the 80,000 sq architectural gem known as the Royal Opera House. The entire theatre space was born out of Sultan Qaboos‘ passion and love of music and as the ruler of Muscat back in 2001, he decided to build the Italian-style theatre to bring a new flavor of performing arts to the Arabian peninsula. Once it was completed in 2011, it became a hub for music, dance and theatre productions, seating up to 1100 spectators who get to enjoy its eclectic range of performances. So far, this year the theatre saw some exciting performances including “Beyond Time”, a musical production that explores the concept of meditation and sound through the beat of drums and the movement of dancers.
Cairo Opera House (Egypt)
A literal time capsule of history, the Cairo Opera House was built back in 1988 as the ultimate hub for music, dance and theatre productions and saw the likes of musical legends gracing its stage. Such a prominent space in Cairo is home to several theatres including the main hall that can seat over 1300 spectators and lends its stage to large-scale performances followed by the small hall, a 350 person seater and the open air theatre home to recitals, light music concerts and special performances. Some of the biggest productions that graced its main hall include Verdi’s widely renowned opera Aida that took spectators back to ancient Egypt as well as Tchaikovsky’s The Nut Cracker.
Qatar National Theatre (Qatar)
Standing tall in front of the glistening waters of the Doha Corniche is the Qatar National Theatre that opened way back in 1982. Its one of those theatres that celebrates both local, regional and international talent and hosts unique troupes and performers on its stage. Known to be a staging ground for plays and concerts, the 490 seater theatre saw the likes of several productions including “The Wrestler”, an Arabic play starring actors Nasser Mohammad and Najwa Al Kubeisi back in 2015.
Théâtre de l’Opéra de Tunis (Tunisia)
Sitting across lake Tunis is the prominent performing arts space known as Théâtre de l’Opéra de Tunis (The Opera Theatre of Tunis) that opened its doors in 2018. Just like the Cairo Opera House, the theatre is home to many performing spaces including the Opera Theatre with a seating capacity of 1650 people, the Theatre of Regions with 650 seats, and the Theatre of Young Creators, a hall home to 260 seats. Such an institution is the staging ground for many types of troupes and artistic groups including the Opera Ballet of Tunis as well as the National Troupe of Popular Arts. The theatre celebrates both local and international talent with some of its past performances including “Ennawala”, an eight part traditional Tunisian dance show presented by the National Troupe of Popular Arts as well as a ballet performance of Romeo & Juliet.
King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
Sitting on the Eastern edge of the Hanifa valley is one of the most prominent landmarks of Riyadh known as the King Fahd Cultural Center. The entire space exudes luxury and extravagance with its exteriors of white marble and interiors decorated with thick carpets and gold crystal chandeliers. Looking inside, you’ll find its opera theatre, a space that can accommodate an audience of 3000 people who get to enjoy concerts and theatre performances held on its stage. This particular cultural center got to witness some big first times for the Kingdom including staging its first ever Japanese full mixed gender orchestra concert with a female lead singer in 2017. Today, the center continues to stage big performances of dance, music and drama.
With each of these theatres, you get to pick from a big collection of performances whether its drama, music or dance and they are the kind of theatres that accommodate different tastes. What’s also great about them is that they showcase stories that give audiences a look into Arab culture so be sure to check their itineraries beforehand.