Organisers and children with special needs rehearsing at the premises of Future Centre in Abu Dhabi for the musical production Ahlan. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty, Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: They are as young as four and as old as 20 but their age differences vanish as they gather in the classroom, dancing and rattling maracas and tambourines.

More than 130 students from the Future Centre for Special Needs have been practising diligently for their 8th annual musical production Ahlan which will take place tomorrow in Abu Dhabi.

"This year's themeis based on Abu Dhabi. I've been working together with other members of the staff since approximately mid-February … we've had to tweak the script and other elements to make sure that we can highlight the abilities of each child," Anjum Ja'afar, Head of Education, Future Centre for Special Needs, said.

"Generally when we choose a theme, we make it the focus of our school year through projects, before incorporating it into our end-of-year production. This year was easy since it's based on Abu Dhabi and we've already done relevant projects and activities for the National Day," she said.

For the students participating, the performance is a way to not only have fun but also as an outlet to express themselves creatively.

"I'm having a lot of fun practising with my friends. I play a visitor, who learns about Abu Dhabi. Plus, the nice part of it is that I don't have to do any homework," Till White, an 11-year-old student at the centre, said.

To showcase their ample talents, students will also dance and play various musical instruments. They will be accompanied by members of Live Music Now! — a UK-based organisation which sends musicians to participate in schools that have limited access to live music.

"I hope people enjoy the performance, especially because the children are having so much fun participating. I also hope it may change their perception of them because people usually focus only on their negative side instead of seeing their potentials," Ja'afar said.

Show details

  • What: Future Centre for Special Needs theatre performance Ahlan
  • When: Wednesday
  • Where: National Theatre
  • Time: 7pm
  • Tickets: Entrance free