The Arts is a category too broad to be defined. Puritans may argue that creativity can only be expressed via a canvas, but over time art has evolved into so much more.
The Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) was born of humble beginnings in the year 2006 by a group of partisans all advocators for the need to build in Dubai, a facility that will house, nurture and broadcast home-grown talent.
Ever since, this non-profit organization has expanded to become one the most popular amenities in Dubai. Tucked away on the 2nd floor of the Mall of the Emirates, the ease of access of the centre is symbolic enough of the no-holds-barred mentality of the place. DUCTAC opens its doors to the myriad of cultures residing in the city, and to ages spanning from 4 to almost geriatric; the philosophy being that anyone with talent or even the slightest hint of affection towards any of the programs they offer, is more than welcome to sign-up.
DUCTAC boasts of a facility comprising of 2 theatres, 3 dance/rehearsal studios, 20 art rooms and classes, an Art gallery, and even a well-stocked lending library. Professional trainers are on-hand to tutor a number of specialized arts; be it courses and workshops of a more theatrical form, to pottery and easel-painting lessons for the artistically inclined. Even the more subtle fields of calligraphy, henna-painting and digital photography are provided with outlets to express themselves. From vocal lessons and musical instrumentation, or whether you want to learn how to dance or just master a new language, it seems that there’s very little DUCTAC doesn’t offer.
The larger of the two theatres, The Centrepoint Theatre boasts of the ability to seat around 540 guests, and a state-of-the-art theatre rig. This two-tiered arena just screams out drama, and has seen many a show and Broadway production come to life, easily meeting the professional standards required to host productions of the likes of High School Musical, Animal Farm, and up-and-coming attraction Hairspray.
The smaller Kilachand Theatre is capacious enough to accommodate a generous 200 guests; considerably more humble than its larger counterpart, yet equally functional. This arena is more frequented for occasions, forums and shows of a less theatrical scale, being a more comfortable setting for large workshops or corporate events.
The dance and rehearsal studios of DUCTAC are just as you’d picture it; right out of clips of FAME. The wooden flooring, full-length mirrors and ballet-bars serve as the ideal learning environment for students of dance. Jazz, Ballet, and Indian classical dances are given equal time and space as the not-so-mainstream, for those who’d rather bust a Bollywood move or step in tune a good old Irish jig instead.
Similarly, the Art centre workrooms are as well-equipped with easels and paint for the followers of Picasso and pottery kilns for the aspiring sculptors.
DUCTAC’s renowned art gallery is very aptly named The Gallery of Light, and when visited during the day one can view its splendour in full effect. The partial skylight filters just the right amount of sunlight into the exhibition hall, providing viewers and art aficionados an ideal ambience with which to appreciate the works of local talent on display.
The DUCTAC experience is truly one to be reckoned with, and many locals and expats of the Emirates are availing of this community-driven venture to experiment and even build on their potential talents. For artists aren’t just born into their skill; it takes a little direction and a lot of practice to be considered one of the greats. Here’s hoping this noble endeavour has a hand in putting UAE-based talent on the map.
For more information on the Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre and the classes they offer, visit www.ductac.org
– Shaahima Fahim.
Images courtesy of DUCTAC