Thursday, 5 December 2013

A New Performing Arts Venue For Dubai? It's Up To You!

I give over the blog today to a guest post from Aflamnah's Vida Rizq. Aflamnah is a crowdfunding platform that aims to help innovators in the arts, humanities and science raise the funds they need for their projects...

The Courtyard Playhouse project on Aflamnah is just 9% away from reaching its target but only has one day to go. You can still get involved by buying one of the fantastic rewards on offer and seeing the project to a successful start.

As of last night, the project had raised $16,801 through 73 supporters. Whilst you can make a contribution of $10 (and you can remain anonymous too), the most popular reward has been to have your name engraved on one of the theatre seats. Front row seats are going for $400 each with only two remaining. Back row seats where you get a plaque on the wall were recently added as a new reward and are on offer for $500.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of crowdfunding: it’s is a very simple idea that allows people to raise funding by collecting relatively small amounts of money from a large number of people generally through the Internet. In return, the Aflamnah model means that the idea owners offer contributors rewards for as little as $10.

The Courtyard Playhouse aims to create a more contemporary, alternative performing art space where local talent is nurtured in Dubai. Husband and wife team and co-founders of Drama Dubai, Kemsley Dickinson and Tiffany Schultz have almost realized their goal to put the Courtyard Playhouse, a unique grassroots venue, on the map. They invited the community to get involved to help complete the project through their crowdfunding campaign on Aflamnah. They're taking a bold and costly step to convert what was once a partitioned office space into a working studio theatre and workshop space.

“We’ve gone as far as we can” said Kemsley as the campaign launched in October, “now we need help from the community to complete the project and realize our vision of a vibrant theatre space created for Dubai, by Dubai.”

After years of struggle to find practical and affordable performance spaces for their acting workshops, improvisation classes and local theatrical productions, the couple decided to run a campaign on the website. Individuals donate what they can in return for ‘rewards’ to help achieve the financial goal and ensure an official opening night before the end of the year. The project is still in need of lighting, changing rooms and washrooms to complete the renovations.

“We’ve put together some truly exclusive rewards” says Tiffany, some of these are:

  • to have your name engraved on one of the auditorium seats 
  • have an improvised play staged about your life 
  • private tuition in photography or as part of an acting workshop 
  • a Dramatic Photoshoot featuring you styled and costumed as the actor or character of your choice 

If you would like to be a part of their project as an individual or a corporate sponsor, visit to watch their fantastic video and see how far they have come in transforming the space. And do save the date for their Xmas horror themed event on 13th December for a night to remember!

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