Sunday 05 March 2017

As part of its UK/UAE 2017 initiative, the British Council announces a series of free public events in partnership with Welsh National Opera.

UK/UAE 2017 is a cultural exchange programme between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which celebrates the long-standing relationship between the two countries and looks to strengthen existing cultural and economic ties. The programme is supported by the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign. It will be taking place throughout 2017 and will include such events as musical performances, masterclasses and educational workshops as well as a broad programme of activities across all art forms, science and education. 

In early March, Dubai Opera is staging productions of Madam Butterfly and La bohème by Welsh National Opera. As part of the UK/UAE 2017 programme led by the British Council, a series of public events including working rehearsals and talks will take place in conjunction with these performances to give budding musicians and the wider community the opportunity to develop their skills and experience the magic of high quality performance.

Coming up this week is “Access All Arias”, consisting of short pop-up performances by four WNO chorus members, taking place at the British Council Dubai and the Emirates Literature Festival. Taking their talent outside of the usual opera house setting, the singers will perform an hour-long set of popular operatic repertoire, including an aria from La bohème. These events form part of a series of public works of art and site-specific performances, installations and events suitable for all ages which will bring audiences, artists and experts together, stimulating conversation and new experiences.

  • British Council Dubai: Tuesday March 7th, 6pm-7pm
  • Emirates Literature Festival: Thursday March 9th, 2pm-3pm

“Access All Arias” performances are free and open to all ages. No prior registration or tickets required. 

With a rich programme spanning the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade, UK/UAE 2017 will explore the themes of community, inclusion and the next generation, in line with UAE Vision 2021. Throughout the year, the British Council will work with a wide range of British and Emirati partners, strengthening existing relationships and creating new collaborations. Top UK institutions and creative practitioners will partner with their UAE counterparts, showcasing British and Emirati talent to engage and inspire audiences across the UAE. 

UK/UAE 2017 is organised by the British Council under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. 

For more information about UK/UAE 2017 and its upcoming programming, please visit: To join the conversation follow the UK/UAE 2017 on the British Council’s Facebook (@BritishCouncilUAE), twitter (@uaeBritish) and Instagram (@britishcounciluae) pages and use the dedicated hashtag #UKUAE2017. 


Notes to Editors

About UK/UAE 2017

UK/UAE 2017 is a year of creative collaboration and cultural exchange between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, organised by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for education and culture, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and HRH The Prince of Wales. The purpose of UK/UAE 2017 is to celebrate the long-standing relationship between the UK and the UAE, giving it greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance. Throughout 2017, the British Council will collaborate with a wide range of British and Emirati partners to create a diverse programme that spans the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade. Through exploring the ways in which our respective cultural heritage and contemporary creative expression inspires innovation in all sectors and all areas of society, UK/UAE 2017 will strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations and identify major opportunities for future collaboration on both sides. 

To stay up-to-date with the latest news and programme, please visit the British Council’s UAE website or follow the social media channels on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

For further information and enquiries, please contact Hannah Henderson at

About the Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera is the national opera company for Wales. WNO is funded by the Arts Councils of Wales and England to provide large scale opera across Wales and to major cities in the English regions. Welsh National Opera builds on the company’s Welsh heritage in the amateur singing tradition and transforms lives through the power of opera, sharing a passion for singing with as many people as possible. The company aim to share a passion for singing with award winning performances of fully staged opera and concerts which aim to combine a sense of adventure with the highest possible quality. WNO aims to tell stories that everyone can identify with and relate to through the medium of opera, keeping performances accessible through affordable ticket prices and aiming to make opera relevant to as many people as possible. WNO aims to encourage everyone to engage with the company not just those already in love with opera. Beyond the theatre activity is designed to connect with people through community and education work and digital projects.

About Dubai Opera 

Dubai Opera is a truly unique venue and the city’s first purpose built multi-format performing arts theatre, situated in the heart of Downtown Dubai. With an iconic dhow shaped design rooted in Emirati heritage, Dubai Opera offers the ultimate flexibility of a proscenium arch theatre, an acoustic concert hall and a 2000m2 flat floor event space, and is the definitive destination for quality entertainment productions and performances. Dubai Opera's stage hosts an incredible array of world-class talent, with opera, ballet and classical music concerts and productions at the core - as well as musical theatre, fashion shows, jazz, comedy, family shows and a full range of live entertainment.

About the British Council 

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.

GREAT Britain

The GREAT Britain campaign is the UK government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign ever and showcases the very best of what the country has to offer to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.  GREAT is active across 144 countries worldwide and unites the British Government’s promotion of the UK overseas – more than 20 Government departments and agencies – under an effective and widely recognised brand.   Launched in 2011/12, the GREAT campaign has already generated returns of £2.6 billion for the UK economy, with a further £2.7 billion currently being audited and more to come from current activities.  For more information visit