The eighth incarnation of Spring of Culture is finally upon us
Time Out Bahrain staff
There’s a huge range of events running right through March and into April from dance performances and music to art exhibitions, talks and workshops at venues across the island from Arad Fort to the National Museum and, of course, the newly opened National Theatre, which is expected to really come into its own this month.
We’ve got the lowdown on all the best happenings.
Music - Il Divo Bahrain National Theatre Nominated as Artist of the Decade at the Classical Brits, these four pop opera singers have been one of the most successful musical break-out stories of the millennium so far. They’ve sold more than 25 million albums and their success has pioneered a whole new sound for vocal music garnering them more than 150 gold and platinum awards. They’re the big opening show for this year’s festival really putting the new National Theatre on the map. www.ildivo.com.
Exhibition - Within the Shadows, Ghada Khunji Bin Matar House, Muharraq Based in New York, Lucie-award winning photographer Ghada Khunji returns to her homeland Bahrain to capture its unique light and beautiful shadows through architecture, people and landscape. Despite the advent of the computer age and western style modernisation, Khunji’s imagery manages to unveil remnants of Bahrain’s true soul revealing a sense of nostalgia for Bahrain’s past and its many layers of civilisation. www.ghadakhunji.com.
Exhibition - Himat Mohammed Ali Al Riwaq Art Space, Adliya Al Riwaq Art Space presents Letters to Ishtar an invitation by the artist Himat Mohammed Ali to seven international poets, that began in 2003, to travel into the myth of Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War. The result conveys a complex and intimate vision of each poet, which Himat translates into artworks combining painting, sculpture and poetry making the most of this stunning display space. www.alriwaqartspace.com.
Lecture (Arabic) - Changes in Arab Cinema and Television, Ibrahim Al Arees Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, 8pm Ibrahim Al Arees, a researcher in cultural history, a journalist and film critic, studied film directing in Rome along with scenario and film critique in London. Heading the film department in Al Hayat Newspaper, he writes a daily column on human heritage and history of world culture. He has translated 40 books from French, English and Italian cinema, philosophy, economics, criticism and history and he is the author of the film A Journey in Arab Cinema, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Poetry evening - Letters to Ishtar Al Riwaq Art Space, Adliya, 7pm In conjunction with the exhibition by Himat Mohammed Ali this evening is a dialogue between poetry and painting, a joint artistic project by seven poets: Adonis, Qassim Haddad, Mohammed Bennis, Saadi Yousif, Abdulmunim Ramadhan, Bernard Noël, Michel Butor and the artist Himat Mohammed Ali. www.alriwaqartspace.com.
Music - Sonata for Love, Jahida Wehbe Cultural Hall, 8pm World premier of Jahida's self-produced new album Sonata for Love on which she sings for famous poets Pablo Neruda, Mahmoud Darwish, Adonis, Talal Haidar, Forough Farrokhzad and others. With her deep and powerful voice, she will present the album accompanied by a sextet conducted by the famous qanun player Osama Abdulrasol, who supervised the production and co-arranged the album with Dyck Van der Herst and Philippe Thuriot. www.jahidawehbe.com.
Theatre - Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo Adjacent to Bahrain Fort Museum, Qal’at Al Bahrain Avenu. Daily 4pm and 10.30am on Mar 8, 9 and 15. No show Mar 12. The dinosaurs are here! Dare you get close? All the way from Australia comes an awesome show featuring prehistoric creatures from cute baby dinos to tooth-gnashing giants that live in a petting zoo like no other. These life-like dinosaur creations come to life in an eye-popping display filled with fun, education and imagination. Seize the opportunity to feed, water and care for these prehistoric marvels. www.erth.com.au.
Poetry - Ahmed Abdel Muti Hijazi Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, 8pm Poet and critic, Ahmed Abdel Muti Hijazi has participated in literary conferences across the Arab sphere. A pioneer in the evolution of contemporary Arabic poetry, his works have been translated into French, English, Russian, Spanish, Italian and German. He was awarded the Egyptian Greek Cavafy in 1989, African Poetry Award in 1996 and the State Merit Award in Arts from the Supreme Council of Culture in Egypt.
Theatre - Sneezing Firas, khayal Art and Education Cultural Hall, 5pm Through puppetry, acting, shadow theatre and video, this play addresses problems in children’s relations with their schoolmates, parents and teachers. Relying on simplicity, it stimulates their imagination and improves their interactions with their surroundings and their motivation to do homework. Protagonist Fouad reconciles himself with his identity by creating a puppet alter ego named Firas Al-Attass - Sneezing Firas. Now able to play with his neighbour Katia, they imagine solutions to all their city’s problems. www.khayal.org.
Music - Charles Aznavour Arad Fort, 8.30pm Dubbed the French Frank Sinatra, the famed romantic chanson tenor Charles Aznavour has penned more than 800 songs, recorded more than 1,000 of them in French, English, German and Spanish and sold over 100 million records in all. His songs have been recorded by an astonishing array of performers such as Andrea Bocelli, Bob Dylan, Sting and Elvis Costello and now there’s a chance to see him perform some of them here in Bahrain. www.c-aznavour.com.
March 17-June 8
Exibition - Istanbul Modern - Bahrain Bahrain National Museum Istanbul Modern – Bahrain is a selection from the contemporary and photography collections of Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. Gathering together 244 works by 94 artists from different periods, the exhibition focuses on contemporary themes such as imagination, identity, the interdisciplinary nature of visual culture and more. Istanbul Modern – Bahrain is the latest in a series of shows that Istanbul Modern has held in major cities since 2009.
Music - Solo piano performance, Zade Dirani Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, 8pm Inspired by the anthems of great film composers and the natural beauty of his homeland, Jordan, Zade, a composer and pianist, creates epic cinematic music that unites and inspires people of all cultures. His songs blend Arabic, Latin, pop and classical music. The Washington Times recognised him as Jordan’s leading cultural ambassador dedicating his music to building bridges of peace and tolerance. www.zade.com.
Dance - Amigas, Lizt Alfonso Cultural Hall, 8pm Famed troupe, Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba, is back in Bahrain with its premiere dance musical Amigas. Featuring the fictional story of divas Mercedes, Caridad and Regla, members of the former famous trio Amigas, the mature and still beautiful women tell the story of how and why they separated when audiences loved them most. www.liztalfonso.com.
Theatre - Farfalle Salman Culture Centre, 11am and 4pm Visual, emotional and immersive theatre, the audience will witness the fascinating transition from a pupae into a butterfly. There are butterflies, colourful, they flutter in the wind, they whir in your ear. They are ballerinas painting on air with their wings. The audience is immersed in the story and invited to touch and explore the glowing interactive scene themselves. www.tpo.it.
Music - Melody Gardot Arad Fort This colourful artist has been creating a blend of jazz fusion for the past decade and caught the eye of major record labels with her 2008 album Worrisome Heart. Arad Fort’s the ideal venue for her stylish rendition of her latest album The Absence. www.melodygardot.com.
Lecture (Arabic) - The experience of an Arab journalist in foreign media organisations, Béchara El Bon Al Zayed House, 8pm With over 35 years of experience in Arab and foreign media, Béchara El Bon has held several prominent posts including director of Radio Monte Carlo-Middle East and adviser to the president of Radio France International Group and was granted the French state award Chevalier of the Order of Letters and Arts.
Theatre – Paperbelle Art Centre, 10am and 4pm Paperbelle likes her black and white world. She’s heard of colours but wants things to stay the same. The colours want to play games with Paperbelle. Her world is changing. Will she try to stop it? An enchanting theatre performance for children, friends, schools and nurseries. Paperbelle is a gentle and playful exploration of colour, set in a magical world of paper. www.frozencharlotte.com.
March 26-April 22
Exhibition - Alwan 338 Adliya, Block 338 For the second year, Al Riwaq Art Space will present its annual month-long celebration of art in the public space, Alwan 338. This year’s edition is dedicated to the theme of common ground, curated by Sandra Mautic and Monica Santos. A community-driven cultural and artistic collaboration, Alwan 338 entices public participation and engagement with the unique architecture of Adliya and beyond through public art projects, installations, educational workshops, open-air music concerts and film screenings. www.alriwaqartspace.com.
Music - Mahler Chamber Orchestra Bahrain National Theatre One of the most artistically interesting and successful ensembles currently performing on the international stage, the Mahler is a travelling orchestra with no set home base. The group was formed in 1997 by former members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra,. www.festival-aix.com.
Dance – Kathak, Rashmi La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, 8pm Rashmi is at the forefront of a new generation of dancers who have reinvented this ancient tradition. Rashmi’s portrayals of the various traditional heroines, whose stories are told in the dance-language of Kathak, have been described as versatile and delightful. This sophisticated reinterpretation of age-old themes is a feast for lovers of Indian dance and a revelation for the rest of us. www.lafontaineartcentre.net.
Dance theatre - Ballet Revolución Arad Fort, 8.30pm Ballet Revolución, the international dance sensation, premieres in Bahrain after sell-out seasons in London, Berlin, Hamburg, Paris and Vienna with its dynamic cocktail of unbridled passion, pure energy and athletic skill. An explosive fusion of ballet, contemporary dance and hip-hop, Ballet Revolución is set against a blend of sounds meshed with Cuban classics, Latin American and R’n’B hits by artists such as Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Usher, Chris Brown, Beyoncé and many more. www.balletrevolucion.com.au.
Lecture (Arabic) - Secularism in Today's World, Raja Bin Salama Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, 8pm Feminist, researcher and writer, Raja bin Salama holds a doctorate in the Arabic language, literature and civilization. She studied psychology in Tunisia and France. A founding member of the Association of Arab Rationalists, she is currently a psychological analyst and editor in chief of Al Awan Magazine.
Music - Yanni Bahrain National Theatre Greek pianist, keyboardist, composer and music producer Yanni uses the musical shorthand that he developed blending jazz, classical, soft rock and world music to create predominantly instrumental works. He makes his Bahrain debut as part of a world tour raising awareness of the World Wildlife Fund’s work to protect giant pandas. www.yanni.com.
Lecture (English) - How To Travel Well, Tim Mackintosh-Smith La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, 7pm A masterclass on travel writing from Mackintosh-Smith who was named by Newsweek as one of the 12 finest travel writers of the past hundred years. Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s most recent book took him from Zanzibar to the Alhambra via China and Timbuktu. He will speak about the art of literary wandering and share some of the secrets of how to write a good travel book. www.mackintosh-smith.com.
Music - Kadim Al Sahir Arad Fort 8.30pm One of the Arab world’s most loved and respected artists whose career has spanned more than 30 years. He has perfomed live to millions across the globe and has sold more than 100 million albums. www.kadimalsahir.com.
Exhibition - Imagine, Fictional Architecture and the Liberation of Ideas Bin Matar House, Muharraq Liberated from convention, fictional architecture becomes an idea which can explore new formal languages, develop idealised structures, form spatial concepts, tell stories and generate atmospheres. By not aiming to influence the built environment, the architectural drawing unfolds its potential to communicate what has so far merely been imagined. This exhibition explores the creative and Utopian potential of architectural drawings through a selection of works from Europe’s leading architecture schools.
Poetry - Najib Khaddari House of Poetry, 8pm President of Morocco’s House of Poetry, Khaddari made remarkable contributions in improving newspaper coverage of cultural events while working as a culture desk editor at the Science newspaper. As deputy chairman of the Moroccan Writers’ Association, he also helped launch several organisations including the International Pen Club in Morocco and the National Authority for the Defence of the Ethics of Journalism and Freedom of Speech.
Exhibition - Fatima El Hajj Albareh Art Gallery, Adliya The exhibition pays homage to the book as a precious, important element in our heritage, reminding us that life has become superficial as we read less. www.albareh.com.
Music - Farah Siraj Cultural Hall, 8pm Called ‘the Norah Jones of the Middle East’, Jordanian virtuoso Farah Siraj balances a career that spans the Middle East, Europe and the USA. Her original compositions blend Middle Eastern influences with flamenco, jazz, bossa and pop and she has been named Jordan’s musical ambassadress. www.farahsiraj.com.
Lecture (English) - The Clashes of Ignorance in the Mediterranean, The Price to Pay and Lessons for Tomorrow, André Azoulay Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, 8pm With a diverse history André Azoulay, a political scientist, presently King Mohammed VI of Morocco’s special adviser. He also chairs the Committee of Wise Men for the Alliance of Civilisations at the United Nations, and is deputy chairman of the Foundation of The Three Cultures and Three Religions.
April 20-May 20
Exhibition - The Extraordinary Ordinary La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art An exhibition of two architects; the Finnish architect Thomas Modeen and Maysam Alnasser, a Bahraini architect, in addition to Akar, a French Tunisian calligrapher. Thomas will participate with black & white images of Manama, highlighting the beauty in everyday life, Maysam will show pieces that address the continuous conversation between traditional and contemporary, organic and defined, examining the concept of layering roots. www.lafontaineartcentre.net.
Lecture (Arabic) - Ghassan Hajjar Al Zayed House, 8pm Ghassan Hajjar is the managing editor at An-Nahar newspaper and supervisor of its Centre for Training and Research.
While many of the Spring of Culture events are free, there are also some which are ticketed. Sale details had not been released as we went to press so check on www.springofculture.org where you can also find pricing details. Some events are also age restricted so please check for further information as some adult events are not open to young children.