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Sharjah: Sharjah will host a new edition of the international Fringe festival, one the world’s largest art and entertainment events, from January 16 to February 1, 2020.

Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) announced at a press conference yesterday that in a bid to offer the UAE’s multicultural community more choices to enjoy theatre and performances, the emirate has officially joined the global Fringe family.

It will be the first Fringe Festival in the Middle East.

The streets and stages of Sharjah will be the backdrop for 600 shows featuring a pandemonium of performers, colours and creativity at key destinations in the emirate from Al Majaz Waterfront to Al Qasba and Al Noor Island. These Shurooq destinations will host over 50 artists from the UAE, the region and the world, who will present street and circus acts, theatre, dance, music and other forms of interactive entertainment, to delight UAE audiences from all nationalities and age groups.

Audiences will enjoy top Fringe acts like The Amazing Bubble Man, Tom Thum beat box act,

I Hate Children’s Show, and many more during a total of 1,100 hours of entertainment.

To enable maximum engagement for school-goers across the UAE, the festival has curated special schools packages, which will be on offer in the mornings. Regular programmes will begin late afternoon and continue in the evening for families. She added that as a guide to parents, all shows have been categorised according to their best fit by age group, starting at 4–6 years, followed by the 6–10 and 10–14 years categories, and finally, 14+ years.

Sharjah Fringe Festival 2020 is presented by Shurooq in strategic partnership with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). It will be organised by the National Arts Festival, South Africa, who also produces a thriving South African Fringe, in collaboration with Dubai-based events company Dolphin Creative.

Ahmed Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq, explained that, “By bringing Fringe to Sharjah, we want to send a message that ours is ‘a city of choice’. Through Fringe, we want the 200-plus nationalities residing in the UAE to connect with the global language of arts. At the same time, we build bridges with other cultures, which translates the vision of His Highness Shaikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who chose knowledge, culture and arts as our path of development.”