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Abu Dhabi’s Exit 11 Performing Arts Company premieres its inaugural production online


Audiences are placed in the centre of the world of The Bacchae through a dynamic and unique audio-only experience.

Nineteen artists who span across nine time zones and seven countries are set to air their first showing of an immersive sonic-theatre adaptation of The Bacchae.

Exit 11 Performing Arts Company, the name of the cross-border performing arts company, will place audiences in the centre of the world of The Bacchae through a dynamic and unique audio-only experience.

The production features original music, an immersive soundscape, and riveting dialogue that are brought to life through a captivating sonic journey.

Supported by The Arts Center at NYUAD, the Exit 11 Performing Arts Company production is  in turn supported by Art Jameel’s Research and Practice Programme.

Exit 11 Performing Arts Company Managing and Co-creative Director Ethan David Lee, a director and producer based between Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and Hull, United Kingdom, said:

“Creating this production has been an incredible six-month journey. As a stage director adapting to new forms of working in the face of a global pandemic, creating The Bacchae has been an immense challenge, I burned the midnight oil more times than I can count, but this was a team effort.

“These incredibly talented and adaptive artists threw themselves into this unknown journey with generosity and I cannot thank them enough for their work. I am so proud to now be able to share it with the world.”

Ethan David Lee, Exit 11 Performing Arts Company Managing and Co-creative Director

David goes on to thank Art Jameel and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi for their support of the company.

“This transition to sonic-theatre would not have been possible without the support of Art Jameel and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, as a company founded by NYU Abu Dhabi graduates, The Arts Center has been immensely influential in our artist growth. Its unique international productions and personal interaction with artists has left the company with rich inspiration, and we are honored for their continued support in our professional careers.”

Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director of the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, said: “One of the goals of The Arts Center has always been to help develop the artistic ecosystem in the UAE, as well as to support the educational journey of NYU Abu Dhabi students.

Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director of the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

“With Exit 11, we see a beautiful convergence, as they establish themselves both in the UAE and transnationally. I have been watching so many of the members of the company throughout their artistic journeys – watching them making work in the university theater production, their capstones and the Short +Sweet Abu Dhabi theater festival, talking to them after Arts Center shows, sitting in with them in workshops with visiting artists that The Arts Center presented, and working with them as our interns.

“I was thrilled to hear when they decided to establish their own company, and even more excited that they were going to take on the challenge of making bold work in an innovative form at a time when the very definition of theater is being called into question by the realities of COVID-19.

“It’s very meaningful to help support the company at this watershed moment.”

Exit 11 Performing Arts Company was founded by three NYU Abu Dhabi graduates, Kevin Ke, Tan Tzy Jiun, and Ethan David Lee in November, 2019, having worked together extensively, developing work at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Some of their past works include Vitae and Red is the Blood of the People, the latter of which won Best Overall Play, amongst other awards, at Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi in 2019.

The Bacchae will premiere on Saturday, 17 October, 7pm GST with a post-show Q&A moderated by American theatre director, Joanna Settle.

You’ll need to register for the premiere. Following the premiere, the production will be released on demand episodically wherever you get your podcasts.

For more information about the production and Exit 11’s work, visit exit11arts.org/bacchae

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