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Fringe festival debuts in the UAE

SHARJAH, January 22, 2020

The world-famous Fringe Festival has made its debut in the Middle East with its first event in Sharjah. Presented by Shurooq from January 16 – February 1, more than 600 family entertainment performances are being presented by more than 50 artists from around the world.   

The streets and stages of Sharjah are the backdrop for 600 performances featuring a pandemonium of performers, colours and creativity at key destinations in the emirate – the Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba and Al Noor Island. These Shurooq destinations are hosting more than 50 artists from the UAE, the region and the world, who are presenting street and circus acts, theatre, dance, music and other forms of interactive entertainment, to delight UAE audiences from all nationalities and age groups.

Sharjah Fringe Festival 2020 is presented by Shurooq in strategic partnership with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). It is being organised by the National Arts Festival, South Africa, who also produce a thriving South African Fringe, in collaboration with Dubai-based events company Dolphin Creative.

Ahmed Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq, said: “By bringing the Fringe to Sharjah, we want to send a message that ours is ‘a city of choice’. Through the Fringe, we want the 200-plus nationalities residing in the UAE to connect with the global language of arts. At the same time, we build bridges with other cultures, which translates the vision of Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who chose knowledge, culture and arts as our path of development."

“As the Fringe gears up to set stage in Sharjah, owing to the emirate’s global cultural status and touristic appeal, it brings our residents and visitors the first-of-its-kind opportunity to meet the international Fringe community who have toured Adelaide, Brighton New York, and the rest of the world. We look forward to being on hundreds of entertaining journeys with these artists at our top public destinations. Sharjah Fringe truly embodies Shurooq’s vision to lead the social, cultural, environmental and economic development of Sharjah.”

The festival has a broader appeal beyond theatre-going audiences, and Sharjah has designed its 17-day programme with a special focus on children. The 2020 Sharjah Fringe is hosting 600 performances covering art, theatre and street performances.

Fringe festivals were born from the passion of a group of artists who had a stronger commitment to their craft and artistic message for people than being accepted into a traditional stage setting. A bold and novel concept for the 1940s era, which emerged in Edinburgh, soon caught up with the rest of the world. Today, over 200 Fringe events are held worldwide.

The Edinburgh edition remains the largest, featuring an average 3,000 shows. They sold more than 3-million tickets for their 2019 edition. Only the Olympic Games World Cup boast bigger numbers.

Tony Lankester, CEO of Sharjah Fringe and former CEO of the National Arts Festival, South Africa, said on the sidelines of a conference held last year: “We are very excited about the launch of the Sharjah Fringe. For decades, Fringe festivals around the world have celebrated the best in theatre, dance, music and performance of all types – and the Sharjah Fringe will be bringing this same spirit to a whole new community and generation of theatregoers, starting January. South Africa's National Arts Festival is proud of its partnership with Shurooq and we look forward to putting Sharjah on the Fringe map.” - TraderArabia News Service




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