A new Fringe Festival is announced for Sharjah, UAE

September 11, 2018

Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, will be hosting the first Fringe Festival on the Arabian Peninsula, it has been announced in Edinburgh. The inaugural Sharjah International Fringe Festival will be modelled on some of the world's best known citywide arts events and will take place in January 2020.


The Sharjah Fringe will host multiple music, circus, comedy and theatre productions over three weeks aimed, primarily, at families and children, together with an extensive street theatre programme.

 

The announcement was made by the Associate Producers of the Fringe against the backdrop of the World Fringe Congress in Edinburgh - home of the world's largest and most iconic arts events. 


In celebration of this great announcement, His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: “Sharjah International Fringe Festival will be one of the biggest and most symbolic additions to the list of festivities and events which Sharjah presents annually, across all our destinations.”


H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), said: “The pioneering Sharjah Fringe is another opportunity for us to promote the magical world of theater and arts and culture to families and children in Sharjah and the whole of the UAE. As an addition to our rich portfolio of dazzling and entertaining festivals, the premier event is expected to result in a further influx of tourists to the emirate, in line with our vision of attracting 10 million tourists by 2021.”


The Sharjah International Fringe is being produced for Sharjah’s Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) by South Africa’s National Arts Festival and Dubai-based Dolphin Creative.


CEO of South Africa’s National Arts Festival, Tony Lankester, said he was delighted that their company could be part of this inaugural event: “The National Arts Festival has been going for over 40 years and is the biggest arts event in Africa. Our country also has a long trade relationship with the UAE and so this is a natural partnership for us.”


The Sharjah Fringe will be programmed on a selected basis, and will invite applications in the course of 2019. “We’ll be looking for great, solid entertainment for young people and families, presented in English. We’ll be building hubs and venues across Sharjah to bring the work, to life,” Lankester said.


Stuart Every, CEO of Dolphin Creative acknowledged the importance of having a vibrant street culture at Fringe Festivals “Some of the best known and most successful Fringe Festivals globally have street theatre and performances at their heart. Our work in Sharjah will adopt this same approach.”

 

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