After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Spring of Culture is returning to Bahrain.
The flagship festival celebrates a diversified programme of literature, music, art, design and theatre with events that cater to all tastes.
Expect everything including musical, dance and theatrical performances as well as lectures, cultural symposiums, art exhibitions, pop-up shops and architectural launches.
The press conference to announce the festival was held in the Bahrain National Theatre, addressed by the president of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed, and attended by senior international diplomats as well as prominent local figures from the world of art and culture.
This year’s big development is a new addition to the roster of locations: the recently opened Al Dana Amphitheatre, located near Bahrain International Circuit in Zallaq, home of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.
The events will be hosted at cultural institutions, historical sites and urban landmarks across Bahrain.
Musical highlights include performances by Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi at Al Dana Amphitheatre on March 4. Palestinian artist Omar Kamal will perform at the Bahrain National Theatre on March 10, where the UK's Philharmonic Orchestra will also take the stage on March 25.
The Cultural Hall will also host a variety of shows from around the world, starting with the Great Opera Arias performance by the Italian Teatro Massimo, held in collaboration with the Italian embassy, on March 3.
The embassy of Pakistan, celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations, will teach audiences more about Pakistani culture through the Qawwali Night, which will include performances of a form of Sufi music on March 4 and 5, with a moving musical arrangement accompanied by Urdu poetry, as well as the “Mushaira” Urdu poetry event on March 6.
Other highlights include art exhibitions from artist Ebrahim Khalifa with his “Woman Between Reality & Fantasy” on show at the Art Centre, starting on February 27.
The centre will also host a solo exhibition by artist Rashed Al Araifi for his work “Visual Memoirs: Between Figuration & Abstraction” on March 1.
For the first time, Al Riwaq Art Space will also host a talk called “Approaching Learning: A Symposium” on March 25 to discuss topics and issues centred on the relationship between education and the arts.
For those interested in traditional Bahraini folk arts, the Mohammed bin Faris Music Hall in Muharraq will host weekly musical evenings featuring the Mohammed bin Faris band every Thursday for audiences to engage with genres associated with diving, pearling, weddings and other happy occasions.
The theme for this year’s Spring of Culture is “Golden Jubilee”, recognising the kingdom’s 50 years of independence. Keeping with tradition, festivities commence on February 25 to mark Arab Tourism Day.
“Through the Spring of Culture Festival, we reaffirm the importance of cultural work,” said Sheikha Mai. “Culture is our global language that we use to communicate with different peoples and is our tool to build bridges between the Kingdom of Bahrain and civilisations from around the world.”
More information available at springofculture.org