Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 February 2020

Sharjah Fringe Festival 2020: Children's theatre and bubble magic to feature in debut programme

The arts festival is bringing several of its top acts to the UAE for its Middle Eastern debut

UK performer Maxwell Graham combines comedy and artistry with audience participation and bubble tricks that will keep everyone mesmerised
UK performer Maxwell Graham combines comedy and artistry with audience participation and bubble tricks that will keep everyone mesmerised

The world-famous Fringe Festival will make its debut in the Middle East next year. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, first established in Scotland in 1947, prides itself on being the world’s largest arts festival, where anything goes. The festival has become such a popular platform of experimental arts that it has come to denote its own brand of new and untried forms of theatre, in both subject matter and style. Offshoots of the festival have popped up all over the world, from Chicago to Dublin and Singapore and New Zealand.

The Fringe, as it is commonly known, will make its regional debut in Sharjah between Thursday, January 16 and Saturday, February 1, 2020. With 1,100 hours of entertainment spread across 600 performances covering theatre, music, puppetry, magic, dance and interactive street shows, Sharjah Fringe is set to transform the UAE’s cultural heartland into a creative, theatrical playground.

The emirate will host a selection of acts that were born on Fringe stages around the world and, today, represent the very best of the global Fringe repertoire.

Promising plenty of family entertainment and children’s theatre, Sharjah Fringe will unfold with 35 ticketed productions and 30 outdoor street performances that are free and open to the public. The shows, performed by more than 50 artists hailing from across the world, will take centre stage at three Sharjah destinations: Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba and Al Noor Island.

The best of Fringe comes to Sharjah

Among the Fringe favourites that will be presented in Sharjah is Maxwell the Bubbleologist’s exploration of the dynamics of bubbles. In The Bubble Show, UK performer Maxwell Graham will combine comedy and artistry with audience participation and mesmerising bubble tricks.

Australia’s Tom Thum and Jamie MacDowell, winners of the Best Music Event award at the Brighton Fringe 2014 and the Adelaide Fringe 2016, come armed with just a guitar and a distinctive singing voice to woo crowds with their versatile talents, while South Africa’s popular In Sticks Stones Broken Bones show will transform household junk and bits of rubbish into wordless shadow puppet stories about flying chickens, sneaky ninjas and brain transplants.

In Sticks Stones Broken Bones, household junk and bits of rubbish will be transformed into wordless shadow puppet stories about flying chickens, sneaky ninjas and brain transplants
Sticks Stones Broken Bones uses shadow puppetry to tell its tales

Travelling all the way from Spain, Grumpy Pants is a show for the whole family featuring juggling routines, physical comedy and fork throwing, while young children will be invited on stage to star in award-winning magic performance, The I Hate Children Children’s Show.

Organised by Shurooq in strategic partnership with the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, the Sharjah Fringe festival is produced by South Africa’s National Arts Festival and UAE-based Dolphin Creative.

“Designed primarily as an interactive event, families and the general public can also experience the sheer thrill of being called on stage alongside international artists at the Sharjah Fringe," said Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, chief operating officer of Shurooq. "The emirate enjoys a global cultural status and touristic appeal, which we wanted to reinforce by presenting an event full of choice for each of the 200-plus nationalities residing in the UAE.

“Our rich slate of programmes, including Fringe classics, will introduce new entertainment concepts and encourage the exchange of new and thought-provoking ideas with other cultures in a festive atmosphere at Shurooq’s specially chosen destinations. We are excited to unveil the full line-up of shows to the public in the days to come, and visitors can access all details and information through our website and social media platforms.”

Tickets will be available to buy online at www.sharjahfringe.com from Tuesday, December 31, with prices ranging from Dh35 to Dh50. Discounts are available for children, students and those over 60 years old.

Queries and bookings can also be made by calling 06 556 0777.

Updated: December 30, 2019 02:02 PM

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