Under the honorary patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Founding Honorary Patron of Abu Dhabi Festival, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation has unveiled the programme for the Abu Dhabi Festival 2024, which is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan. This marks the 21st edition of the Festival, which will be held under the theme The Will for Hope, celebrating artistic excellence and cultural diversity.

With a line-up featuring classical ballet, jazz, opera, and traditional Arabic music, as well as world and regional premiers, accompanied by community and educational programme, the festival aims to captivate local and global audiences.

This year, Abu Dhabi Festival designated China as the Country of Honour, commemorating 40 years of diplomatic ties between the People’s Republic of China and the UAE, ensuring a culturally rich celebration.

In 2024, the festival's theme, The Will for Hope, focuses on fostering hope and optimism during challenging times. It reflects the influence of arts and culture, serving as a beacon that breaks through darkness and negativity.

A portion of the 2024 revenues of Abu Dhabi Festival will be donated to Tarahum for Gaza campaign by the Emirates Red Crescent. This contribution aligns with the official efforts of the United Arab Emirates to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and aid those affected in Gaza.

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi Festival ​Founding Honorary Patron, said: “The Abu Dhabi Festival embarks on its third decade of sustainable cultural progress, embodying Abu Dhabi's vision and reaffirming its commitment to elevating Emirati culture globally. By showcasing leading creatives and performers on the stages of Abu Dhabi, the festival underscores the significance of culture and the arts in fostering hope, spreading values of coexistence, peace, and human fraternity, and conveys the message of the tolerant and open-minded UAE to the world.

“Celebrating the People's Republic of China as the Guest Country of Honour, this exceptional edition of the festival will be enriched with cultural brilliance, reflecting diverse traditions from the East and the West. This mirrors its pivotal role in stimulating cultural diplomacy, human interaction, and dialogue.

“The 21st edition of the Abu Dhabi Festival follows the celebration of the UAE's 52nd National Day and the hosting of COP28 and showcases the festival’s role in spreading environmental awareness in the UAE and worldwide. It symbolises collective effort, with institutions and inspirational creatives serving as ambassadors for environmental preservation and combating climate change, for the sake of our natural resources and the future generations.

“Proud of the significant milestones achieved to date, the festival looks forward to continuing its journey of leadership and excellence, enhancing the country's global status as a beacon of knowledge, culture, and creativity."

His Excellency Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture: “Through this productive collaboration with the festival and its organisers, we aim to achieve the vision and strategy of the ministry, inspired by a concept that resonates globally. We work towards enriching the local cultural landscape through partnerships with culture, art, and heritage institutions in the UAE, supporting creators and talented individuals across various fields, and striving to enhance dialogue between cultures. This strategy serves to deliver effective projects and experiences that reflect the flourishing, diverse culture scene in the United Arab Emirates on a local, regional, and global level.

“Undoubtedly, the organisation of these events contributes to the cultural efforts undertaken by the UAE, reinforcing the concept of cultural diplomacy, and the language of dialogue with diverse communities worldwide. We firmly believe that creativity is a bridge for human interaction, and that the arts, in all their forms, have the power to bring us closer to other nations. This is especially important as we introduce the uniqueness of Arab and Emirati culture and arts, sharing our cultural achievements with the world.”

His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: "In its 21st edition, the Abu Dhabi Festival embodies our cultural vision, aiming to nurture creativity, empower artistic talents, and sow the seeds of hope for a better future for all. This stems from our faith in the role of the arts in building bridges of dialogue and communication between cultures and in dedicating ourselves to noble human values. Collaborating with partners, including the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, we continue to develop our cultural ecosystem to support the flourishing of our creative economy while preserving the elements of our rich heritage, ensuring its sustainability for generations to come. As the Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 showcases a diverse program of timeless musical masterpieces enriching the artistic scene in the emirate, we look forward to the continuation of our strategic partnership with the foundation, contributing to enhancing Abu Dhabi's status as a beacon of cultural brilliance, welcoming creators from around the world."

Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, expressed her gratitude to the nation’s wise leadership, led by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.  Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis shared her appreciation for his unwavering support and astute guidance in propagating culture, empowering the country's creative sector, and reinforcing its standing as a global hub of culture and fertile ground for creativity and innovation.

Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “With the inspirational support of the Festival's Honorary Founding Patron, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Festival embarks on its third decade. Today we unveil the programme for the 21st edition under the theme The Will for Hope. This conveys a message of empowerment for culture and the arts as potent forces in promoting enlightenment, coexistence, and peace; a guiding beacon and a source of light and hope for a better future for our region and all of humanity. With the invincible will for hope, nations thrive as they unite to strengthen our civilisation and shared humanity.”

Highlighting the celebration of the People's Republic of China as guest of honour for the 2024 Festival, Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis emphasised the historical ties binding the UAE and China through the ancient Silk Road, and reiterated the festival’s commitment to presenting global masterpieces, exclusive commissioned works and joint productions. This includes for the first time in the Arab world, a performance of Chinese New Year by the National Ballet of China, showcasing Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Nutcracker. The festival will conclude with the dazzling performance of the China National Symphony Orchestra.

Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis said: “We are aligned with the UAE's initiatives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the UAE Red Crescent Authority through the campaign Tarahum for Gaza. We will allocate a portion of the Abu Dhabi Festival ticket proceeds to this campaign, demonstrating our commitment to the UAE's efforts in supporting the Palestinian people, in the hope of alleviating suffering, and contributing to easing the severity of the humanitarian crisis by providing essential necessities.”

His Excellency Zhang Yiming, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, said: “China is deeply honoured to be the Guest Country of Honour for the Abu Dhabi Festival 2024. The year 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United Arab Emirates, therefore, there will be a series of wonderful performances by Chinese art groups at that time. This collaboration signifies the strong cultural ties between the two nations and showcases the richness of Chinese arts and culture heritage to the global audience. We highly appreciate ADMAF for their commitment to fostering cultural exchange and look forward to a successful partnership that will further strengthen the bonds of friendship and understanding between China and the UAE.”

Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer at Mubadala, the festival’s lead partner, said: “As a lead partner of the Abu Dhabi Festival, Mubadala is delighted to promote a cultural renaissance that pushes boundaries and embraces diversity. The festival’s commitment to supporting artistic talent aligns with Mubadala’s vision of fostering innovation and inspiration. Together, we embark on a journey to enhance cultural experiences, highlight creativity, and build bridges that connect communities through the universal language of the arts.”

A spokesperson for GS Energy, the festival’s energy partner, said: “We are honoured to join hands with the Abu Dhabi Festival as the energy partner. At GS Energy, we believe in the transformative power of the arts to inspire and illuminate our community. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to supporting cultural excellence and fostering creativity. Together with the Abu Dhabi Festival, we look forward to energizing and enriching the cultural landscape, bringing forth a harmonious blend of energy and artistic brilliance to the global stage.”

For ticket information and details, visit: www.abudhabifestival.ae.