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July 6, 2009

Palladium to bring big names to Dubai

Dubai’s newest venue, The Palladium is set to provide a huge boost to the local events calendar, with a number of major international theatre producers and entertainment companies expressing an interest in bringing their productions to Dubai for the first time.


Managing director of the Palladium, Raymond Gaspar, told meetme: “I can say that productions from Cameron Mackintosh, and Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Really Useful Group’ and many people who are touring with these productions, are talking to us, as well as other West End shows and some from Las Vegas as well.”


The Palladium, which was built at a cost of US$68 million, is the first indoor venue in Dubai capable of staging everything from large-scale theatre and musical productions, through to rock concerts and operas, as well as exhibitions, banquets, conferences and seminars. “The way we have designed the Palladium means it’s ideal for staging big theatrical productions,” said Gaspar. “With the fly tower there is the possibility for flying scenery, plus we have one of the biggest stages in the region, and all the facilities, the sound and the lighting. The way the seating has been designed means the last row is still within the international standards of a small theatre, so although it’s a 3,000-seater you are just 30 metres away which is close enough to really enjoy the show.”


Gaspar added that the new venue had the potential to boost the local events scene during the traditionally slow summer months, when soaring temperatures make staging outdoor events almost impossible. “The venue is already starting to make a big impact on the industry. In our dealings with event management companies we have found they are very excited, they immediately identified this as a place where they can be more creative, where they can come up different ideas, not just the usual. This is the feedback we are getting from the market.”


Since its launch in April, the Palladium has already hosted a number of events including the Akon concert, and Gaspar confirmed that the calendar is already filling up with bookings for the remainder of the year, despite any impact on the industry from the economic crisis.


“The market is definitely not dead; in fact it’s more alive than it has been for the past six months,” he said.  “With all the talk about Dubai being very negative, what we are feeling is entirely different. On the corporate events side, it looks like the market has started up again – there is activity in Dubai with product launches, conferences and what we call specialised or niche conferences showing an interest. And on the show business side it’s not that bad. What’s happening on the ground, with all the enquiries we are getting and what is in the pipeline, shows that there is a healthy season coming up after Ramadan.”

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