x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

International performers hit the streets

On a staycation this Eid but struggling to find family activities to mark on your calendar? Pencil in the Abu Dhabi Eidfest, a three-day extravaganza featuring international street performers at different venues all over the capital.

Shandy South, the international street dancer, mime artist and comedian. Courtesy Shandy South
Shandy South, the international street dancer, mime artist and comedian. Courtesy Shandy South

Right up your street

Twenty one street-theatre artists from Argentina, Spain, Scotland, Holland, Australia, the US and Canada will be performing 40-minute shows at Al Ain Mall and Bawadi Mall in the Oasis City, while Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Mushrif Mall, Dalma Mall and The Galleria on Al Maryah Island will host them from tomorrow until Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi Corniche will be set up with an Eid market and Heritage Zone, complete with ayala dancers and henna artists adding a cultural flavour to the festivities.

“We wanted to do something a little different this EidFest,” says Faisal Al Sheikh, the director of the events bureau at the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. “Our roster of global street performers certainly fits the family entertainment bill.”

Crowd puller

Organised street performances began in the 17th century as a source of employment for musicians, mimes and fortune tellers. Today, street theatre with one-man acts and elaborate productions are an artistic outlet for entertainment, reaching out to larger audiences.

“We have cast the talent net far and wide to create a diverse, free-to-attend programme which will highlight every major form and genre of international street artistry,” says Al Sheikh.

Street artists from all over the world will display 19 acts featuring acrobatics, dance, magic and comedy.

The people in town

The London-based Shandy South, a comedy and mime artist who has performed at various festivals in the UK, Japan, Canada and Dubai, will be performing in Abu Dhabi for the first time as part of the three-day schedule. The theatrical shows are a fusion of street dance and improvisational and visual comedy. “Street theatre provides artistic expression,” says South, who has performed in 21 countries. “People all over the world love it because it gives them a chance to have fun in a public place with their friends for free.”

The hang players Daniel Waples and Flavio, who have performed in 25 countries, will be playing out world fusion, jazz, urban tribal and hip-hop tunes during the festival.

Rob Collins, a regular on the UK stand-up circuit, will provide some comic relief to visitors, while Kwabana Lindsay from London will display his famous “fiddler on the rope” act.

Victor Rubilar, a freestyle comic from Argentina – he can juggle with up to five footballs – and the illusionist Todd Various will also make an appearance. Lisa Looping, a hula-hooper from Amsterdam and the Florida dance troupe USA Breakdancers are also part of the line-up, as are the Australian comedians Benny B, Mullet Man and The Great Dave. Street artists from Barcelona include KIKI and Shay Horay.

• The celebrations run from tomorrow until Thursday. Call 800 555 for more information