Here is the first glimpse of what the region’s first permanent stage show will look like (and it’s shaping up to be pretty epic).

Featuring 450 performances a year, an aqua-stage filled with 2.7 million litres of water and 1,300 seats, La Perle by Dragone is all set to kick off in mid-2017.

The preparations for Dubai’s first permanent stage show are so intense, however, that the 65 performers and 70 technicians are already flying into the city, with the acrobats, dancers, strongmen and contortionists now training 10 to 12 hours a day for the show in their Studio City and Habtoor City gyms.

Construction on the custom-built theatre in Al Habtoor City (which will soon be right on the Dubai Canal) is well underway, with the bulk of the stage and seats already built.

While exact details of the show are still under wraps (and, as we understand it, under development), we do now have these artist renderings that give an idea of what the water-based show will look like.

la-perle-rendr-7The theatre is not a traditional stage – the seats wrap around the water pool (which is sometimes a dry stage), and for a space that can fit 1,300 viewers it feels surprisingly intimate. 

la-perle-render-5There will be two shows a night, with the theatre running five nights a week. The show will be 90 minutes, with no intermission, and there will be a screening at 7pm and 9.30pm. 

la-perle-2Food and drink is allowed in the show, as are phones and filming, and while there isn’t a particular kids’ policy, they do say the show will be best for children over five. 

la-perleTickets will start from Dhs399, and there will be some seats in which you’ll need to wear a waterproof poncho. These splash seats are right up the front, and should have you feeling like you’re part of the show. 

So what can we expect?

Rather than the show fitting into the theatre, the theatre has been built for one single show.

“The theatre we have built is not just a theatre, it’s an incredible machine. It’s like a special spaceship or more like an A380 plane which I have to fly,” explains the show’s founder and artistic director, Franco Dragone.

During La Perle, performers will dive from a height of 35 metres and will fly around the auditorium on high-powered winches at a speed of 15 kilometres an hour (which is why they’ve already jetted into Dubai and are in training).

We also know that there will be motorbikes involved in the show, and that these bikes will be in globes.

Gymnasts at La Perle

The gymnasts are already in Dubai training.

“It’s not possible that people seeing this show for the first time won’t be moved,” Dragone confidently told us today.

He went on to explain that he had originally told Mohammed Khalaf Al Habtoor, the CEO of Al Habtoor Group, that he wanted to tell a “beautiful” story, and make people cry.

“Yes, Franco,” Habtoor apparently replied to him, “but I also want people to have goosebumps and to sit on the edge of their chair.” It sounds like the show will be both stirring and thrilling.

Dragone is famous for his theatrical spectacles worldwide, including La Rêve in Las Vegas, Aida in Naples and House of Dancing Water in Macau, which is another aqua-based show.


Franco Dragone – a man famous for putting on intense spectacles.

“We only approached one person,” Mohammed Al Habtoor told us today. “We didn’t approach two, do interviews, have a shortlist. There was only Franco.” Basically, the man’s the king of this kind of stuff.

Gymnasts at La Perle

Some of the performers that will star in the show (including an 18-year-old contortionist from the States, right).

It’s amazing to think that all of this is happening on ground where the Metropolitan Hotel and the old softball pitch once stood: “It used to be in the middle of nowhere,” Mohammed Al Habtoor explains of the Sheikh Zayed Road land, “but today the location is the middle of Dubai.”

Here are some amazing stats about the show:


– The speed of every dive will be between 85 to 100 kilometres per hour.

– Artists will dive from a height of 35 metres into the aqua-stage.

– The aqua-stage holds enough water to fill an Olympic pool.

– Artists will fly from a tower weighing a whopping 60 tonnes. That’s the weight of a Boeing 737.

– During every performance, artists will at one point experience more G-force than an astronaut at take off.

Images: Supplied