Cirque du Soleil — one of the world's most famous travelling circuses — is heading to Saudi Arabia to launch the third Riyadh Season.
The entertainment troupe, known for its jaw-dropping performances, Las Vegas residencies and collaborations with music artists, was confirmed as the opening act for next Friday, by the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.
Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the authority, said the season will feature new zones and events, in line with its slogan for the year: Beyond Imagination.
It will include 25 Arab and international theatrical shows, 15 different zones, including an entertainment section and the Boulevard World zone, which will highlight different cultures from around the world.
“Imagine that you are America, France, Greece, India, China, Spain, Japan, Morocco, Mexico and Italy at the same time. We will bring in everything in these countries, their markets, restaurants and arts,” said Al-Sheikh.
Riyadh is aiming to host world-class sporting events including WWE and the Riyadh Season Cup, bringing together Paris Saint-Germain football players and Saudi teams Al-Nasr and Al-Hilal.
“What do you think about having the first teleferique [aerial tramway] in Riyadh that will transfer you from Boulevard World to Boulevard Riyadh City with a capacity of 3,000 visitors per hour?” Al-Sheikh asked.
“You will also board boats and submarines for the first time in Riyadh’s biggest artificial lake in the world. All these activities will be held at the newly introduced entertainment city we called BLVD World."
This year, Riyadh Season will host more than 8,500 activities including daily fireworks, 150 music concerts, eight international shows, 17 Arabic-language plays, 108 interactive experiences and 252 restaurants.
For football fans, Riyadh Season's Fan Festival zone will have eight large screens to stream World Cup matches, with a capacity of 20,000 people in the audience as well as a global exhibition for the English Premier League club Newcastle United and Argentinian football player Maradona.
Winter Wonderland will return to Riyadh Season this year, with the largest skating rink in the region and five new games, according to GEA.
Riyadh Season is an annual five-month arts and culture festival that takes place in the Saudi capital.
Organised by the General Entertainment Authority, last year the Riyadh Season hosted 7,500 events covering everything from music and arts to food and sport.