More than Dh7 million has been raised by the Dubai Community Theatre and Art Centre to build the Gulf's first, non-profit theatre and arts centre.
The new premises will be built on the roof of the Mall of the Emirates. Construction work began in March 2004, and the centre is set to open by the end of this year. It will be accessible for all communities and cultures.
It will consist of a 550-seat, 2 level theatre, a 150-flexible-seat studio theatre, rehearsal space for ballet, tap dancing and salsa classes, art galleries, a music school, library, café, and 16 studios and classrooms for art, sculpture, theatre, photography, creative writing, calligraphy and pottery. The centre's aim is to promote both Arabic and international art and culture in Dubai and the region.
It is the brainchild of Brian Wilkie, the project chairman, who founded the venture alongside his wife Sami Wilkie.
"There has been a lot of talk about Dubai's need for a creative community. If Dubai wants to really make its mark on the world stage, it needs to be an oasis of creativity and culture. You can't have a creative community without having creative facilities.
"We are building the Gulf's first non-profit theatre and art centre to provide a place for people to come along and be educated as well as entertained," said Wilkie.
The project has received support from various artistic groups and cultural associations in Dubai, many of which organised fundraising and publicity events. Leading multinational and local corporations have also donated funds for the centre.
The centre will be a new addition to the Dubai's multicultural community, with the focus on cultivating and nourishing art and culture. Donations were made through the structured Star Patron scheme, Diamond Star (Dh500,000), Gold Star (Dh100,000) and Silver Star (Dh50,000). Diamond Star patrons include Dodsal, Dubai Duty Free, Emirates, Fosroc, the Landmark Group and the National Bank of Dubai.
Many individuals have also generously contributed to the centre through the Founder Patron scheme (Dh10,000), which includes the benefit of naming a seat in the theatre.