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What's on in Dubai this September - British rock legends, Shadowland, Aladdin, two operas and dhow races

This September in Dubai is a little more charged up than last August in terms of the variety of cultural events. As autumn nears, the Dubai calendar gets more packed with more interesting activities and shows for visitors to enjoy during the cooler months. Here we list some of the very best for all audiences, giving you more choice on how to add depth and enrich a memorable Dubai holiday this September.

What's on in Dubai this September - British rock legends, Shadowland, Aladdin, two operas and dhow races

September in Dubai picks up the pace after a rather sluggish and uneventful August (save for a few good dates in the calendar that we told you all about in our previous edition) and this month there’s something for all ages and all tastes to make the most of your holiday time here. If you need a good excuse to escape the opulent malls and luxury hotels and resorts, here we bring you quite a few so that you know that tearing yourself away from the beach or the pool was definitely worth it. In many cases though, you can linger by the water as much as you like as the performances don’t start until after dusk.

This is a great month for opera lovers in Dubai as not one but two world-famous classics take to the stage at Dubai Opera with the productions of Carmen and The Magic Flute. Then there´s great adult fun to be had with humorous evenings thanks to a series of performances scheduled at the Laughter Factory. And before you think kids are neglected this month in Dubai, there will be not one, not two but three family-friendly shows to delight audiences of all ages. Oh and there’s a rocking performance to attend as old school British rock legends unite for one spectacular night of amazing music! That and a whole lot more if you keep reading below.

My Top Picks

Without further ado, here's is what to see and where to be this month in Dubai.

Carmen at Dubai Opera (6th to 8th September)

An opera classic that has delighted global audiences throughout the years, Carmen comes to the Dubai stage this month at the hands of the Armenian National Academic Theatre Opera and Orchestra, who will bring to life the tragic tale of a doomed love affair between a soldier and a fiery gypsy.

Famous for being one of the most frequently preformed and best loved operas in the world, Carmen casts its spell on audiences time and time again, with renowned arias like Habanera and the Toreador Song enchanting even those who have only heard its melodies and not actually watched the theatrics live. Its music is not only distinctive and easily recognisable but also intoxicating. You can catch it at the Dubai Opera early this month with sessions starting at 8 p.m. on 6th and 7th September and at 4 p.m. on 8th September. Ticket prices start from 350 AED (around £75).

Live DJs unite at Habtoor Grand Resort for an afro-beats mega-party (7th September)

Headlined by Jamaican reggae superstar Duane Stephenson, September kicks off with a party vibe at Habtoor Grand Resort’s XL Club. Supporting acts include talented Kenyan DJs Pierra Makena and Creme Delacreme. The talented DJ Pierra is one of Africa’s top female DJs and is famous for getting the crowd dancing, while her fellow countryman, DJ Creme Delacreme has been voted the number one DJ in Kenya’s Book of Records as well as People’s Favourite DJ. Now you know there won’t be time for taking breathers, you’ll be dancing the night away non-stop. DJ Silva will add to the one-night-only clubbing experience by spinning some old school RnB classics while to round it all off, Dubai-based DJ Wasswa joins forces with DJ Fantafire to keep the crowd moving to contagious afro-beats, reggae and dancehall.

One for the kids and it’s FREE- An immersive storytelling session at Alserkal (8th September)

A great chance to entertain the kids for an hour for absolutely nothing (yes, this activity is completely free for kids to attend!) Alserkal Avenue is putting on a fantastic show for little ones as part of their Sensing Memory summer season. Parents can bring their kids aged between four and eight for an hour of great fun, creativity and imagination. During the storytelling session by expert storyteller Akansha Goenka, there will be props to add to the experience. The event will be held at the A4 Space Cinema Room and starts at 10:30 a.m.

Shadowland Theatre Experience (13th to 15th September)

An engaging and immersive theatrical experience for audiences of all ages, this one-of-a-kind (ad first of its kind) multi-media show has shadow play as its main unique feature with plenty of dancing, humour and endearing characters. The play tells the story of a young girl who upon falling asleep enters a parallel world called Shadowland and thus begins a magical journey that has the fluidity of a dream, “the grace of an acrobatic dance, the humour of a child’s cartoon and the heart of a love story”. Brought to Dubai by dance company Pilobolus for the first time after being a resounding success in Europe and the U.S, Shadowland presents an innovative approach to modern dance with multiple moving screens of different shapes and sizes, fast-paced changes and the spectacular merging of images projected on a screen with a choreography that plays on darkness and light.

It’s on at the Sheikh Rashid Hall in the Dubai World Trade Centre and there are various performances scheduled for each day. On 13th September , you can choose from two different time slots: 5 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. and on 14th and 15th Septembers, performances are scheduled to start at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from 230 AED (around £50) to 1,000 AED (approximately £212).

The Magic Flute at Dubai Opera (13th to 15th September)

Also brought to Dubai by the Armenian National Academic Theatre Opera and Orchestra, this Mozart classic will be staged at the Dubai Opera for three consecutive days. The talented musician’s final last operatic work was conducted by himself during its first performance just two months prior to his death, as such this comical fairy tale is revered around the world not just for its sentimental value, given it was Mozart’s final masterpiece, but also because its humorous aspect, its moving music and the piece’s great entertainment value. Performances are scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on 13th and 14th September and 4 p.m. on 15th September. Tickets start at 350 AED (approx £75) and if you plan to also attend Carmen you can get the fourth ticket free when you purchase two for each performance.

Traditional dhow races at Dubai International Marine Club (14th September)

Kicking off the 2018-19 sailing season, the Dubai Marine Club is hosting a dhow race featuring 22-foot traditional Dubai dhows. Each of these wooden boat championships will have three rounds with the season finale taking place in April 2019. These traditional sporting events are a great alternative way to take in Dubai’s culture and many of the dhows are owned by Sheikhs, attracting over one hundred participants.

The best part is that this event is completely free to attend and will give you plenty of Instagram-worthy images as the dhows battle it out to get to the finish line first.

Laughter Factory’s big seasonal finale (13th, 20th, 21st September)

This is a great month to add some chuckles to your Dubai trip as The Summer of Laughter 2018 draws to a close with an all-star line-up of comedians sure to have the audience roaring or even crying with laughter.

A variety of Dubai hotels and venue will host a talented trio of comedians - Laura Lexx, Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Deering will all be taking to the stage for a belly-tickling night to remember. From Lexx’s quick-fire wit to Deering’s epic rendition of the song “Coffeeeee”, the giggles will keep on coming non-stop. Show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets cost 150 AED (close to £32).

The first show on 13th September is at 9 p.m. and hosted at the Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach. Then, on 20th September, the show moves to the Media One Hotel for a 7:30 p.m. performance before moving again on the same night to Grand Millennium Barsha Heights where the show starts at 9 p.m. On its final evening, the next-to-last performance starts at 7 p.m. at Jumeirah Golf Estates before it all goes out with a bang at the Seafood Kitchen (The Clubhouse - Jebel Ali) at 9 p.m.

British Rock Legends take over Dubai Opera (20th September)

Legendary rock legends will unite forces in Dubai for one very special night to remember this September. “Never Mind The Opera” will ironically bring old-school rockers to the Dubai Opera on an evening filled with British rock classics and personal life stories. Bass player Glen Matlock will deliver his finest talent alongside Slim Jim Phantom and his drums while guitarist Chris Spedding strums along. To round off this magical evening of electrifying performances, vocalist and guitarist Hugh Cornwell will perform some of his best punk rock hits, adding another dimension to the feverish nostalgia that is sure to move the audience. Tickets start from 150 AED (around £32) and doors open at 8 p.m.

Saudi National Day (23rd September)

If you thought all the firework action was over after Eid in Dubai, think again! Towards the end of the month and to celebrate Saudi National Day a variety of special events will be taking place across Dubai on this day, most noticeably an array of live performances, cultural displays and also fantastic activities for the whole family, including little kids! More details are to be revealed as the date nears. Stay tuned.

Aladdin et la Prophetie at The Junction (28th September)

Another act for families of all ages, the classic Middle Eastern folk tale of Aladdin comes to life in Dubai this September with a European spin. This family-centred production is in French and not only is it a great way to brush up on your French and dust off your fluency but also a fantastic way to introduce the language to your offspring in a highly-entertaining musical setting. Set in a Persian city of the past, Aladdin tries to help his critically ill mother amid a general city revolt. Put together by the Culture Emulsion theatre group, the enactment of this classic story is dramatic, amusing and engaging for audiences of all ages. It’s on at The Junction in Alserkal Avenue and tickets cost 125 AED (close to £27).

Other great events in Dubai to enjoy this month

If you've thirst for more beyond our top picks, here are other great acts and events to fill your Dubai itinerary to the brim.

Mentalist Keith Barry performs at McGettigan’s JLT (13th and 14th September)

Prepare to be wowed and amazed by the talent of mentalist Keith Barry with not one but two shows this month in Dubai. The famous “brain hacker” who has contributed to the film Now You See Me and its sequel as an official consultant, as well as appearing on countless popular TV shows, will have audiences spellbound as he performs his magic and stuns everyone with acts that include revealing people’s passwords, bank numbers and secrets. You have two chances to catch him in Dubai this September with shows at McGettigan’s JLT (an atmospheric Irish pub in Jumeirah Lake Towers) starting at 8 p.m. and tickets costing just 120 AED (around £25).

Spanish flamenco takes over the Dubai Opera (19 September)

Known for his powerful, flawless and energetic flamenco-dancing style, Jesus Carmona will be staging a spectacular one-night-only performance at Dubai Opera, in the company of 11 dancers, vocalists and musicians. The show also incorporates the work of Spanish composers Riqueni, Escudero and Albeniz. Hailed as a pioneer in the evolution of this passionate dance genre, Carmona will perform Impetus, a spirited and enthusiastic piece where he shows off his seamlessly astonishing footwork and ballet-infused style elevating flamenco to the highest possible art form. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets start at 400 AED (around £75).

Susana Corona

Susana Corona

Adventure-seeking globetrotter

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