Festival 2019


The 16th Abu Dhabi Festival Headline programme will feature more than 100 events, in 25 venues, 543 international artists, with 17 participating countries, more than 18 productions, 2 co-productions, 2 commissions, 6 Arab world debuts.


Theme – ‘Culture of Determination’

Theme – ‘Culture of Determination’

“No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.”

– Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Welcome to the 16th Abu Dhabi Festival, the leading celebration of arts and culture in the Arabian Gulf. This year the Festival’s central theme is the ‘Culture of Determination’, as it joins forces with the Special Olympics World Games that are also taking place in the UAE capital during the month of March, in celebration of everyone who battles against the odds to make a positive impact on society.

This theme is one each of us can relate to, and the brave Olympians who will be competing here are inspirational human beings whose drive and determination, in the face of often great adversity, should bring joy and hope to everyone.

Country of Honour

Country of Honour

Each year, Abu Dhabi Festival recognises a Country of Honour, commemorating its culture through performances and strengthening diplomatic ties as it welcomes esteemed guests and celebrates artistic expression. 

In 2019, the Festival recognises the deep cultural wealth of Korea, reflecting on the historic ties between the UAE and the Republic – ties of cultural exchange that stretch back many decades. We are excited to welcome artists across a number of different art forms to this year’s Festival, allowing audiences to explore the depth and diversity of contemporary Korean culture.

Previous countries of honour have been: Republic of India (2018), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2017), France (2009, 2016), Italy (2015), USA (2014), Spain (2013), UK (2012), Belgium (2011), Poland (2010), Lebanon (2008, 2006), and Egypt (2007)