Visitors admire exhibits at the Middle East Modern Masters exhibition that marked the opening of the Abu Dhabi Festival at Emirates Palace on Saturday night. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Pupils from schools all over the capital enjoyed a memorable day out as they watched the highly talented Birmingham Stage Company (BSC) bring William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night to life at the Abu Dhabi Theatre Sunday.

The performance was part of programmes highlighting the educational aspect of the Abu Dhabi Festival, which runs until April 7.

The Abu Dhabi Festival, primarily a celebration of art and culture, brings together musical maestros, performers and artists from East and West to the UAE.

"Our school opened in September 2009 and we try to ensure that our curriculum is as enriching as possible. One of the methods we use to make learning fun is through various school trips, such as this one [the BSC school performance]. It's a great way to help children understand Shakespeare," Christopher Nourse-Grewal, principal, Al Muna Primary School, said.

Complex plots

"I've always been a massive fan of Shakespeare…I think he's the number one [author] of all time. But I don't really have a favourite play…I just like reading them over and over again," Jack Shannehan, an Al Muna Primary School pupil said.

This is not the first time that Neal Foster who is the actor-manager of the Birmingham Stage Company, has drawn young audiences to his performances. In fact, he believes that they have the ability to understand Shakespeare as well as other issues that may be deemed too complicated for them.

"Children are greatly underestimated, especially by the people who take care of them. They understand and enjoy complex plots, and if the play they watch is done well then that would help turn [them] into fans of theatre," Foster observed.

"It is amazing to think that a man who lived 400 years ago wrote this play, and it's being enjoyed by children in the present! I can't think of any other playwright whose works will be performed 400 years from now," he added, smiling.


  • Tickets for any event of the Abu Dhabi Festival can be booked by phone or online.
  • Call 800 4668 for local bookings or +971 4 210 8567 (international)

For online booking, visit www.abudhabifestival.ae