DWTC .. Top choice for funny business
A sell-out show by Kevin Bridges proves that DWTC is the Dubai venue of choice for comedy’s biggest acts.
Almasalla, ATP News- Comedian Kevin Bridges has firmly established himself as one of the UK s most popular stand-ups, with a clear ability to fill seats at major venues. He shot into comedy s top tier after a guest appearance on television prompted a rush to buy tickets for his 2009 Edinburgh Festival show – every seat selling within hours of the broadcast. Now the Scottish funny man has seen another rush for tickets, this time for a December 12 show at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Middle Eastern TV viewers may know Bridges from his appearances on the BBC’s hugely popular ‘Live at the Apollo’ stand-up showcase series, broadcast in the region by OSN.
He’s made a number of other television appearances, including his own series, ‘Kevin Bridges – What’s the Story’, and guest spots on popular panel-based programmes. His first DVD, ‘Kevin Bridges – the Story Continues’, sold more than 300,000 copies.
So when a big name in comedy comes to Dubai where does he perform? Increasingly, the obvious choice is Dubai World Trade Centre.
“Dubai World Trade Centre has a profile that fits with top performers,” says Ahmed Al Khaja, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre. “There are few venues that have the flexibility, capacity and in-house support teams to deliver for big stars.”
Space to perform
The Dubai show was booked at DWTC’s Za’abeel Hall, a flexible space with an area of 15,000 square metres that can be divided into three separate spaces according to need. As a single hall, Za’abeel can hold a standing audience of up to 12,000 people. For Kevin Bridges, promoter Done Events chose a seated, theatre style configuration for an audience of 3,000.
Booking Bridges for Dubai, as part of his ‘The Story Continues’ international live tour, proved a clear success. All 3,000 tickets were sold out five weeks before the performance – a long way from his previous Dubai performance in 2008, back when he was just another hard-working stand-up rather than comedy elite.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Dubai,” Bridges said ahead of his visit. “I performed here six years ago when I was on the comedy circuit, so it’ll be great to come back playing a theatre and with my own solo show. Having been told my show has now sold out I am very excited to perform in Dubai and want to thank the many comedy fans in the UAE and the Done Events team.”
Done Events has previously staged shows by comedy-kings John Bishop and Michael McIntyre at DWTC. Already a premier venue for theatrical shows and a popular choice for music concerts, DWTC is now becoming Dubai’s home of big-name comedy. That’s not just big Western names – in September India’s television king of comedy, Kapil Sharma, and his team from ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’ performed live at DWTC, in a show that was broadcast internationally.
A venue that really works
Al Khaja says DWTC’s appeal as a venue is about more than just the size of its halls. Organisers benefit from complete, skilled technical support from Event Serve, as well as first-class food and beverage service form Hospitality by Dubai World Trade Centre. The trade centre complex also works because it is attractive to audiences as well as promoters.
“Everyone knows Dubai World Trade Centre,” Al Khaja says.
“When you see a show advertised here, you know exactly where we are, who we are and what we offer. That’s not just a seat in a theatre; it’s a complete, easy, enjoyable night out.
“We are just by Sheikh Zayed Road, so you know how to get here – or we have a Metro station just by the entrance if you don’t want to get caught in traffic.
If you want to meet friends before a show, or spend time socialising afterwards, there are two hotels with multiple venues on-site, and even more choices within walking distance.”
That sense of being a known venue plays strongly in a performer’s favour.
“People know that big events happen at Dubai World Trade Centre, so if a show books here, then it must be a big show.
It’s a very positive thing for organisers bringing live performances to Dubai to have a venue with this kind of public profile and credibility.”
With multiple successes now to its credit, DWTC looks set to grow in its role as Dubai’s home of comedy. Done Events says Kevin Bridges sold out in record time, while in 2013 Michael McIntyre had to add extra dates to meet demand when his popularity in the UAE exceeded expectations.And there is only one place big enough to hold that kind of talent.