The Department of Culture and Tourism—Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that the much-anticipated opening of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library and a new theatre at the Cultural Foundation, will take place on September 4, 2019.
The launch of these two assets follows extensive investment in rehabilitating the Cultural Foundation, as part of the development of the Al Hosn cultural site in downtown Abu Dhabi. The library and theatre will provide additional learning and performance spaces for the city and going forward will play a major role in Abu Dhabi’s programme of cultural events.
H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “For decades now, the Cultural Foundation has held a position of great significance to the Abu Dhabi community that transcends its physical presence and heritage value. It is a landmark of cultural and societal prominence, which both connects us with our national heritage and allows us to explore contemporary creative practices through a variety of programmes designed for all ages. The completion of its refurbishment marks a new chapter for the emirate’s cultural scene, and it is our hope that the addition of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library and the renovation of the theatre will empower our society, through the tools of education, professional development and artistic expression, for many years to come.
“In an environment that utilises edutainment and effective ways of learning, these two major new components will contribute greatly towards our mission of establishing the Al Hosn site as a significant cultural destination which engages residents and visitors alike. Al Hosn is a key part of our mission to support the younger generations and engage them with the UAE’s rich national heritage and with all aspects of global culture, enhancing Abu Dhabi’s position as a cultural capital for the Middle East.”
The Abu Dhabi Children’s Library is spread over three floors, with the 5,250sqm facility divided into several age-appropriate, social spaces. Designed with inspiration from pop-up books in mind, the library boasts several three-dimensional learning and play spaces in which children can physically immerse themselves to become part of a story. Featuring exciting and colourful designs, each floor has a different design concept reflecting the rich and diverse landscapes of the UAE. The library is expected to become a valuable resource for school groups, young people, and families from across the emirate.
Aside from its cutting-edge collection of books and other interactive learning materials, the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library will also host an engaging, year-round public programme for children and their families. STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and maths) programmes, workshops and exhibitions are designed to encourage creativity and the development of lifelong learning skills. The library offerings include writing, storytelling and filmmaking activities to help young people master presentation and communication tools, which are key for success in the 21st century workspace. The new library aims to foster an environment where families can learn together while encouraging an appreciation of arts and culture.
The promotion of literature and encouraging a love of reading will be central ambitions of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library. It will house a large and diverse collection of print materials and electronic resources that celebrate Emirati and world literature and promote creativity and learning. With an emphasis on excellence, the library facilities and programmes will promote literacy, lifelong learning, creative thinking and community development. The library has been designed according to the Four Rooms Model, the latest design model for public libraries, and ensures the availability of spaces for Inspiration, Learning, Performance, and Meetings.
Meanwhile, the Cultural Foundation’s renovated 900-seat theatre will showcase world-class contemporary, popular and home-grown performing arts, including music, dance, and theatre, in the heart of the city. The theatre will be a prime venue for performing arts in Abu Dhabi and will host a year-round artistic programme dedicated to families and youth. Upcoming events include headline performances and premieres such as Naseer Shamma and the 2350 BC Orchestra, “One Hundred and One Nights” by the Caracalla Dance Theatre, the “Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdo, and a special performance by the Emirati pop star Mehad Hamad.
The theatre is set to become a hub for artistic talent from across the region and will be a welcome platform for the UAE’s musicians, performers, and actors. A full programme of upcoming performances will be released at a later date.
Al Hosn cultural site is home to the Cultural Foundation, a cherished historical and cultural landmark which embodies Sheikh Zayed’s vision to nurture cultural consciousness and the identity of a modern nation. With the addition of the Children’s Library, the Foundation fosters its position and legacy as the UAE’s first and most accessible cultural centre dedicated to learning and creativity which encompasses a theatre, a library, and a visual arts centre.
Located in downtown Abu Dhabi, Al Hosn is the original urban block of the city and comprises Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Cultural Foundation, the historic National Consultative Council building and the House of Artisans. Today, it is considered an urban monument that reflects the evolution of Abu Dhabi to one of the world’s most magnificent, modern cities, and is emblematic of the proud cultural heritage of the UAE, bringing to life the rich fabric of its history, people and traditions.