The Agenda: 6 cool cultural events to check out in May

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A curated selection of art expressions to plan your month ahead…

With a brand new month comes brand new events to check out, and culture vultures, we’ve rounded up plenty to keep you busy in May.

Here are 6 cool cultural events to check out in the UAE this month.

Exhibition: Spring Break

To celebrate its third birthday, Custot Gallery in Dubai is exhibiting Spring Break: a group show of paintings and sculptures by a variety of international modern and contemporary artists. Highlights include works by Marc Quinn, a prominent British artist whose work The Eye of History (Polar Perspective) Red comments on the paranoid world we live in.

Custot Gallery, Unit No. 84, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. Sat to Thur 10am to 7pm until May 30. Tel: (04) 346 8148. custotgallerydubai.ae

Performance: Jane Austen Off Script

In the style (more or less) of Jane Austen, this fun and interactive performance evolves as an improvised romp inspired by audience suggestions of a title inspired by Austen such as ‘Satwa and Solitude’, ‘Pride and Perspex’ and ‘Darcy does Downtown’.

The Courtyard Playhouse, Street 4B, Dubai, Al Quoz 1. 8pm on May 13, 20, 27. Entrance is free but guests must register first and arrive 30 mins early. Tel: (050) 781 2269. courtyardplayhouse.com 

Workshop: Watching, Waiting, and Writing

A workshop where Dubai-based artist Mona Ayyash concentrates on what happens when nothing is happening. She’ll take participants to a cafe in Al Qasba, Sharjah to watch the surroundings, inviting boredom, looking for patterns and repetition as a form of inspiration for creative writing and art.

Maraya Art Centre, Al Qasba, Al Taawun Road, Sharjah. 2pm on May 4. Dhs50. Tel: (06) 556 6555 maraya.ae

Event: Galleries at MAS

Hosted as part of Abu Dhabi Art’s annual programming, this event brings together some leading regional galleries for a pop-up affordable art sale. With prices starting at just Dhs350, this is a great opportunity to pick up a piece from an emerging or even established artist. Zayed University will also showcase student artworks for sale.

Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Daily: 9am to 8pm until June 8. Tel: (02) 6575937. manaratalsaadiyat.ae

Screening: Etoiles / Stars of the Paris Opera

Performed by dancers at the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, four contemporary choreographers – including James Thierrée, the grandson of Charlie Chaplin – come together for this recording of a live performance of cutting-edge modern dance. A dream-like and dazzling performance, it is composed of conceptual and creative movement.

Alliance Francaise, Street 18, Oud Metha, Dubai. 7.30pm on May 28. Dhs35 for members, Dh45 for non-members, Tel: (04) 335 8712 afdubai.org

Exhibition: Photographs: An early album of the world

Take a journey across continents with some of the earliest photographers and discover 250 rare photographs produced between 1842 and 1896. This extensive exhibition includes some of the first images ever seen of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the American continents – images that helped to shape the perceptions of people, places and cultures more than 150 years ago.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, 10am to 8pm until July 13. Tel: 600 565566. louvreabudhabi.ae

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Images: Getty and provided 
Words: Anna Seaman. Anna is an arts and culture specialist in the UAE, and a regular contributor to What’s On. Find out more at annaseaman.com