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Staff at General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan / Gulf News

Dubai: The art, culture and theatre community on Tuesday welcomed the announcement of a long-term cultural visa by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Members of the community told Gulf News that the news visa will go a long way in enriching the country’s cultural landscape and help build a legacy for the future.

Alex Broun, Australian, head of drama at Studio Republik, Shaikh Zayed Road Dubai

“I think this announcement demonstrates the tremendous vision and respect for all art. It is a wonderful occasion for all artistes in every genre and will play a major role in nurturing the cultural growth of the country.”

Isobel Abulhol, OBE, CEO and Trustee, Emirates Literature Foundation

“I just read the tweet and we all at the foundation are very excited as it is testimony to the wisdom and vision of Shaikh Mohammad who also happens to the patron of the Emirates Literature Foundation. The long term cultural visa will provide the opportunity to international artistes, writers and theatre personalities to live here and come back long term and enrich the art and literary landscape of the country. It is music to my ears.”

Jogiraj Sikidar, Indian, Founder-Director, Malhaar Centre for Performing Arts, Dubai

“This is a fantastic initiative as the pulse of any country thrives through its cultural landscape. This move will not only attract top international artists to come to Dubai and make it their home but also encourage local artists to collaborate and flourish. Dubai is an eclectic mix of different nationalities and this initiative will make Dubai the new cultural hub of the world.

The long-term visa will help performing art centres like ours to organise several artistic collaborative work and residency programmes for our students and performing arts lovers. The long-term visa will also give the artists the opportunity to lay a solid foundation of their art forms in the UAE and create a huge pool of local talent through long-term training. “

Padraig Downey, Irish, owner of Danu Dubai Theatre, performing Arab and Irish theatre throughout the UAE

“This single move will greatly energise the art and culture scene of the country. People like myself love to have the creative freedom to be our own bosses and not have to deal with the stress of visa renewal every two years. Besides, now with the new category we can wholeheartedly work for theatre and not be also on some other work visa. Artists, theatre persons are not paid like the corporate world and have to struggle to make an honest living. I have lived in France, Italy, Ireland and USA and in each country they are now giving artistes the right to stay and be sponsored by the state. Like in France there is a professional artistes card which is like a permit for artists to live under the patronage of the state. We as artists have so much of value to give back to the community and this visa will give so many international artistes the chance to give their best to this beautiful community where I have lived for the last nine years.”