The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) kicked off its fourth season, as Executive Artistic Director Bill Bragin introduced the 2018-19 season’s themes of Connection, Community, and Excellence, underlying over 80 performances and 160 Off the Stage events, as well as announcing the exciting new membership program available to the UAE’s arts fans.
New for this season, the Membership Program enables audiences to create deeper connections with the arts, offering a variety of single, dual, and family packages. Members will have the chance to attend all the season’s productions, early ticket booking to free events, invitations to exclusive behind the scenes events, discounted companion tickets, artist meet and greets, community dinners, and other benefits. Bragin said: “This is the ideal way to support the arts and be part of a larger community of arts lovers.”
The season is bursting with performances that demonstrate this season’s themes. For example, Chaabi Flamenco spotlights a musical encounter between French flamenco guitar master Juan Carmona and Algerian mandola virtuoso Ptit Moh (of El Gusto Orchestra), forming a new Arab-Andalusian bridge. They will share a bill with Emirati oudist Hamad Almansoori of Bait al Oud and his takht ensemble. The performance is presented in collaboration with the Institut francais in the UAE, cultural service of the French Embassy, as part of the Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue.
Emirati oudist Ali Obaid from Fujairah has been added to Grammy-winning pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill’s Cuban-Khaleeji Project, a musical exploration of Arab, Moorish, and North African roots of Afro Latin and Afro Cuban music, beautifully linking to the seafaring music of the Arabian Gulf. O’Farrill will visit the UAE in September to begin working on the collaboration, as well as visiting Kuwait to meet with the Ghazi al-Mulairi Folkloric Percussion Ensemble, and to the UK to meet with Bahraini trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, who will also join the collaboration along with Moroccan vocalist Malika Zarra.
From the campus to the streets of the capital, this season sees The Arts Center use the local community as a performance space as Rimini Protokoll brings Remote Abu Dhabi, a return presentation in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism’s Abu Dhabi Art, which originally presented the piece as part of its Durub al Tawaya series of performance events. As part of the Remote X project, this performance walk takes place in the streets and different venues in a city, as it addresses the imminent reality of artificial intelligence in the cities of the future.
Returning this season for the third edition is the ever-popular Barzakh Festival, which creates a meeting place of musical streams from diverse cultures by bringing together artists from across the world with global-minded music that reflects multiple identities. New to the festival lineup is Lekhfa, an acclaimed new indie supergroup from Egypt featuring Maurice Louca, Maryam Saleh, and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. The festival opens with Nigerian afrobeat powerhouse Seun Kut & Egypt 80, playing the UAE for the first time, and the beloved Sudanese retropop of Alsarah & the Nubatones, in their first Abu Dhabi performance.
The second season of CinemaNA, a series of contemporary Arab cinema screenings and Q&As, is presented in collaboration with the NYUAD Film and New Media Program and Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. The series announces its lineup, featuring work from directors Karim Moussaoui (Until The Birds Return, October 8), Mohamed Al-Daradji (The Journey, November 5), and Annemarie Jacir (When I Saw You, December 10). “The screenings and especially the Q&As gives the community the chance to gain deeper insight into the the film and the role of the filmmakers, a key aspect of our educational mission,” Bragin explains.
For the full list of shows for the 2018-19 season, as well as the Membership Program, please visit: http://www.nyuad-artscenter.org