The Lifestyle

Dubai Culture Guide: Cinemas & Theatres

Cinema seats

Here's your guide to the theatres & cinema hubs in Dubai

Words by Aneesha Rai in The Lifestyle · May 30th, 2018

Whether it’s catching the latest art house flick or experiencing the local theatre talent, there is a budding cultural movement in Dubai. Here’s how to experience them firsthand. While most arts enthusiasts crib about not finding enough culture in the city, they simply don’t know where to look. In every nook and corner of Dubai, you will find a group of buzzing artists practising their craft one by one - whether it be music, drama, art, dance or spoken word poetry. This is Dubai’s best of the best.


1. Dubai International Film Festival (Diff)

DIFF is currently in its 14th year running this year and is given much mettle thanks to the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Running mostly during the first and second weeks of December, now avid movie goers can also now delight in their monthly DIFF 365 programs where they can enjoy curated movies at Vox Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates. However, there’s nothing like the festive atmosphere at the various venues at DIFF, especially the red carpet experience at Madinat Jumeirah, which is like no other.

2. Cinema Akil

An independent movie project, Cinema Akil is a homegrown concept by Butheina Kazim. It showcases directors and films from across the decades. During most of the year, they tend to be screened at Al Serkal avenue.

3. The Scene

The Scene is an initiative that showcases the best of world independent cinema and foreign films in their raw format, providing the region’s first boutique cinema experiences by Roxy Cinemas. Formally known as The Scene Club, it was founded by film director and local Nayla Al Khaja in 2007 to represent a powerful shift in altering the perception of cinema.


Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash
Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

1. The Junction

Another gem located in Al Serkal Avenue, The Junction is home to many a home-grown theatre talent. From Shakespeare plays to the latest in improv comedy, The Junction has something for all ages. The Junction was conceived of and built as a space where local and regional talent can thrive, where creators and performers can risk to be original, where collaboration and mutual development can occur, and where an appreciation for the arts can be cultivated into bigger audiences. The aim is to let local talent thrive.

2. Ductac

Another community supported initiative located in Mall of the Emirates, DUCTAC offers a year-round programme of theatre productions, gallery exhibitions, dance demonstrations and workshops. This live and digital arts space is perfect for local talent to stand up and be recognised.

3. Dubai Opera

Attracting acts from all over the world, Dubai Opera is nothing short of amazing. With seating for 2,000 people, this multi-format venue welcomes ballets, musicals, theatre and musical concerts. Set right in the heart of Downtown, it has a very exciting calendar of events lined up.

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