Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Jay Z, Chris Rock, David Beckham, Phantom of the Opera, NBA and a bull run are all coming to Saudi Arabia soon

The kingdom has announced a large variety of events – from comedy and circuses to sports and musicals, there will be more than 50 things happening

Last year, Saudi Arabia screened Marvel's Black Panther and hosted gigs by David Guetta, The Black Eyed Peas and Enrique Iglesias – and it looks like they are set to really amp things up this year.

Turki Al Sheikh, the director of the Saudi Entertainment Authority, has announced that the kingdom wants to be one of the world's top 10 entertainment destinations in the near future.

In an important development, the government announced that they would offer licences for live performances in smaller venues, like cafes and restaurants, which will help to create a homegrown, indie entertainment scene. “From now on, issuing licences to organise live events, music performances, acrobatic shows, stand-up comedies in restaurants and coffee shops in the kingdom, will be allowed," Mr Al Sheikh announced. "Saudi nationals will have priority to receive the licence.”

On Tuesday, the Saudi Entertainment Authority announced a variety of new shows, gigs, events and more, all of which are reportedly planned to hit the kingdom soon.

While location and timing details of many of the events aren't yet confirmed, here is what Twitter account @SaudiProject revealed, or reminded us of, last night:

Gigs

DJ Khaled, Jay Z and Amr Diab are all slated to perform live, but the exact dates have yet to be announced.

Comedians

There will be a lot of comedy: Gabriel Iglesias, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Seth Rogen and Trevor Noah have all been announced to perform stand up gigs.

Eight gaming tournaments

The Kingdom will host tournaments in online fantasy game DOTA 2, Fifa, League of Legends, Fortnite and Overwatch, among others.

Circus

There will be a show by the famous Russian circus Nikulin as well as the American circus 1903.

Cirque du Soleil

The famous Montreal show will come to town in 2019 (remember, there will be a performance in Abu Dhabi in March too).

Musicals

The musicals, many of them Broadway and West End productions, coming to Saudi Arabia include Peter Pan, Cavalia, Jersey Boys, Thriller Live, The Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin and The Lion King.

Magicians

Saudi Arabia has announced that the world's most famous illusionists will fly in, including Dynamo, David Copperfield, David Blane, Penn and Teller and The Illusionists.

The Strongest Man

The popular display of brute force will add Saudi Arabia to its tour.

Bull Run

They will apparently put on a version of Running with the Bulls, the famous Spanish event which has origins dating back to the 14th century.

NBA games

The kingdom announced a new partnership to bring NBA games to Saudi: how many and which teams we don't yet know.

David Beckham and Zidane

Big football stars, including the two legends, will apparently fly in for some friendly matches.

Monster Jam

The monster truck festival will come to the country.

More holograms

After Umm Kulthum performs at Al Ula this weekend, there will be hologram shows created for the music of the late Talal Madah and Abu Bakr Salem.

Madame Tussauds

The famous wax museum will open in Saudi, according to the announcement.

The Colour Run

There will be a colour-filled fun run, held some time this year, or perhaps early next year.

A golf tournament

The Saudi International golf tournament will feature Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka. It will take place from January 31 to February 3 in King Abdullah Economic City.

Saudi International 
Saudi International 

A Vox Cinema

A Vox cinema hall will open on Monday, January 28.

Vox Cinemas is bringing its 'distraction-free screenings' to Abu Dhabi
Vox Cinemas is bringing its 'distraction-free screenings' to Abu Dhabi

Quran recitation festival

The prizes for this, which will take place during Ramadan, will exceed Dh7.8 million. There will also be a competition for the most beautiful athaan voice. The latter will be held in Madinah, and participants will include Muslims from all over the world.

The Omar ibn al-Khattab competition

This youth-focused competition will involve singing, shooting and horse riding.

The Hijra competition

This will involve a trek from Makkah to Madinah - following in the steps of the Prophet Mohammed. The route is around 500 kilometres long.

Drifting

There will a permanent drifting area built, where motorists can practice their swerving skills.

Takeshi's Castle & The Crystal Maze

You can read more about these shows, and who has signed up, here.

The Voice and Arab's Got Talent

Both singing competition TV shows will get their own, Saudi-specific versions.

Ultimate Soldiers Challenge

This obstacle course TV show will start to be filmed in Saudi.

Marvel stage shows

The Disney franchise will bring superhero shows to KSA: we don't have much more detail on what the shows will involve.

Frozen stage show

Sticking with Disney, the musical Broadway version of the fan favourite will come to the stage.

Jurassic Park live show

You can expect animatronic dinosaurs at this one.

Harry Potter in concert

This is a favourite at Dubai Opera (it's returning there soon), and it will come to Saudi this year.

Transformers live show

This will be full of large-scale Transformers models.

Taste Festival

This food festival will tour the country, and be held in more than one city.

Public tents

They've also announced that they will erect large tents in 20 cities that will feature restaurants, cafes and large movie screens that will play football games and movies. There will also be open air cinemas.

Slava's Snowshow

The moving clown show will have a Saudi run.

Go Ape

This will be a treetop adventure park.

So, clearly, there is a lot happening: we will keep you updated as more details become available.

Updated: January 23, 2019 03:27 PM

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