Today in a press conference Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, announced The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi fall lineup, promising an eclectic lineup of artists and events for the first half of their seventh season.
Bringing world premieres, returning fan favourites, Middle East debuts, an Arab music festival, and exciting collaborations, here’s all the dates and artists playing out this fall.
It Ain’t Where You From
7 September, 8pm
The premieres and cross-border collaborations kick off with the film It Ain’t Where You From, followed by a live Q&A with the creator.
Co-commissioned by The Arts Center and London’s Shubbak Festival, Dubai-based filmmaker Philip Rachid presents an empowering exploration of the Middle East’s underground hip-hop scene – combining compelling breakdancing, incisive spoken word poetry, a pulsating soundtrack, and rich vibrant cinematography – to capture the importance of street culture in creative self-expression in the Gulf.
The film, which is the first manifestation of a larger transmedia live performance to premiere later, features the artists’ personal journeys, revealing how hip-hop gives voice to a generation of artists from the region who have made the UAE their home.
Theatre for One: We Are Here (Nairobi Edition)
Running Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays
15 September, 9.30pm
Commissioned by The Arts Center, Theatre for One: We Are Here (Nairobi Edition) – a digital theatrical experience – brings together one actor and one audience member to experience live performances of one of six new micro-plays.
Following on from last season’s groundbreaking US-led debut, this edition features six female artists from Nairobi whose works question the liminal space between ancestry and civilisation, the real and the surreal, the inner being, and our external existence.
The performances seek to question how we show up bare and vulnerable in these times while carrying the energy of the other within us. Theatre for One: We Are Here is a collaboration between The Arts Center at NYUAD and Octopus Theatricals, with support from the Nairobi Musical Theatre Initiative.
Oddisee, Medusa TN, Big Hass
26 September, 9pm
Featuring sets by Sudanese-American rapper Oddisee and Tunisian hip-hop artist Medusa TN filmed exclusively for JAM3A, an online music festival celebrating Arab talent, community, and identity, followed by a live Q&A with the Dubai-based, Saudi hip-hop pioneer, Big Hass.
The event, produced by the United States’s Arab American National Museum, is part of their larger online festival showcasing eight renowned Arab alternative artists; JAM3A concerts between 23-26 September, alongside a curated virtual vendor market showcasing small artisan businesses, and artist talkbacks and workshops.
The Arab American National Museum will present this event in partnership with The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Arab.AMP, East Downtown Dearborn Development Authority, UMS and YallaPunk.
sEODo BAND / 서도 밴드
10 November 10, 8pm
sEODo BAND / 서도 밴드 will make their Middle East online debut.
Presented in collaboration with the UAE Korean Cultural Center, this exclusive performance spotlights Korea’s rising stars in an unexpected yet captivating musical conversation between contemporary and traditional elements.
sEODo Band’s “Chosun Pop” is a mixture of pop, soul, and R&B fused with Korean music’s rhythms, melodies, and stories.
Music Recital Series
27 September, 25 October, 25 November
With three concerts, either recorded in or broadcast live from The Arts Center’s Red Theater, 27 September sees Clare Lesser and David Lesser present a soprano and piano contemporary classical performance.
On 25 October pianist Matt Quayle presents Complete Piano Sonatas: a complete series of his original piano sonatas, including a world premiere.
Rounding out the series on 25 November Music Chamber Evening sees leading UAE-based musicians present some of classical music’s greatest works from duo to quintet.
Mondays October, November
The fifth season of contemporary Arab cinema series presented with the NYUAD Film and New Media Program, and in partnership with Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, each event is focused on a live online Q&A with leaders in the Arab film industry.
Ahead of each Q&A, films will be available for on-demand viewing from The Arts Center.
Under the spotlight on 4 October are two films by Mohamad Malas – The Night (al-Leil) and Passion (Bab el Maqam) – directed, along with Unlocking Doors of Cinema, a documentary about Malas, directed by Nezar Andary.
Three films by Jocelyne Saab will follow on 8 November– Dunia (Kiss Me Not On The Eyes), Beyrouth Ma Ville (Beirut, My City), and The Lady of Saigon (La Dame De Saigon).
September- December, Wednesdays 8pm
In line with The Arts Center’s ongoing mission to support the local arts scene, the 10th season of Rooftop Rhythms returns.
The Middle East’s longest-running open mic night with leading and up-and-coming spoken word artists, poets, and musicians presenting original material stays online for the fall with one notable exception.
Hekayah | The Story
24 November, 7pm
On The 7th annual Hekayah | The Story coincides with the celebration of UAE National Day in a special 50th Anniversary Jubilee online edition.
Poets, spoken word artists, musicians, and storytellers, hailing from diverse backgrounds and cultures, will showcase the beautiful diversity of the UAE; exploring their heritages and asking: what does home mean to you – your country, your city, your family, your living room?