10 things to do at Expo 2020 Dubai this week: from Diwali parties to Riverdance

Your last chance to join Halloween activities, plus catch a film premiere or join a Bollywood concert

Riverdance at Expo begins its month-long residency this week. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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With more than 190 pavilions, myriad exhibitions, hundreds of restaurants and non-stop activities, there are experiences for every taste at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here

Each week, we give you a round-up of some of the coolest happenings not to miss at the world fair. This week, starting Sunday, the theme is Urban & Rural Development, with many activities and sessions focused on how to make cities smarter, safer and greener.

Here are our top picks:

1. Halloween at Expo 2020

Sunday is your last day to catch spooky activities at Expo 2020, from themed musicals and baking masterclasses to live performances. Visitors can start their Halloween evening with a spooktacular musical, enjoy fright night with a rock opera performance looking back at some of stage and screen’s most terrifying soundtracks, and then head over to Bread Ahead Bakery & School for a baking masterclass where they'll learn how to make ghoulish goodies such as pumpkin spiced muffins and creepy eye-dough-balls. You can also try out the vegan stuffed Halloween cookies by chef Kimberly Lin at Floozie Cookie, or head to Albaik for some fun painting activities for families with young children.

African food hall Alkebulan has also been hosting a voodoo-themed weekend with live performers, DJs, spooky face paint and frightfully fantastic food.

Where: Various

When: Sunday, October 31

Time: Various

2. Attend a film festival

German federal state Baden-Wurttemberg is hosting a mini film festival at its theatre, showcasing short films, documentaries and children's movies. Curated by Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, films to be screened include new productions by the academy's students as well as the acclaimed titles it supports.

Where: Baden-Wurttemberg House

When: Monday, November 1

Time: 4pm

3. Catch the Middle East premiere of 'Kimana Tuskers'

Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou, this short documentary looks at the Earth through the eyes of the great elephant tuskers of the Greater Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya. Two years in the making, Kimana Tuskers is produced by environmental charity Saving the Wild and is written and directed by its founder Jamie Joseph, whose passion project to protect the remaining 20 Kimana tuskers on the planet forms the basis of the film.

The premiere will be attended by Joseph, who will talk about her life and ongoing works as a wildlife activist.

Where: New Zealand Pavilion

When: Tuesday, November 3

Time: 2pm

4. Meet chef David Thompson

Renowned as a world authority on Thai food, the chef behind Michelin-starred Nahm in London (now closed) and Nahm Bangkok will be visiting his Expo 2020 restaurant Long Chim this week. Presenting an authentic menu of snacks, salads, curries, stir-fries, noodles and desserts, every recipe has been researched and perfected by Thompson himself with a commitment to creating vibrant, delicious and authentic dishes true to Thailand.

Where: Mobility District

When: Thursday, November 5

Time: Various

5. Learn how to knit at Hammour House

This is a community art project which draws inspiration from the One Thousand and One Nights story of Abdullah the fisherman and Abdullah the merman. Join a hands-on creative experience where artists will guide you on how to use finger knitting technique to create beautiful creatures from under the sea.

Where: Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion

When: Daily

Time: 10am-6pm

6. Enjoy Diwali festivities

Although Diwali celebrations have already begun at Expo 2020, the world fair will truly light up starting Tuesday, which is when the festival officially begins. Al Wasl Dome, the centrepiece of the Expo and the largest 360-degree projection surface, will feature special Diwali-inspired shows, while India Pavilion will celebrate the country's art, culture, cinema and cuisine at their four-floor pavilion.

Visitors can also play around with swarangoli, an interactive musical LED rangoli – the colourful designs usually made from flower petals, coloured rice or sand, and meant to bring good luck – that comes to life when you step on a sensor.

Music fans can enjoy a performance by Indian rap sensation Badshah, who will headline the Diwali edition of Late Nights @ Expo at Jubilee Stage on Thursday.

Restaurants will also feature special Diwali meals, including a set menu by Michelin-lauded chef Rohit Ghai at Kutir, a Diwali baking workshop at Bread Ahead Bakery & School, and an exclusive Indian menu at Farrago. There's also a performance by Bollywood musicians Salim-Sulaiman on Thursday.

Where: Various

When: From Tuesday, November 2

Time: Various

7. Dance with Amirah Sackett

The Muslim American hip-hop dancer and choreographer will illustrate how her art form can build bridges and foster empathy between cultures and communities. Sackett will also share how she has used her voice to combat negative stereotypes about Muslim women, and educated communities with little to no contact with their fellow Muslim Americans.

Where: Earth Stage

When: Tuesday, November 2 to Thursday, November 4

Time: 5pm-5.30pm

8. Watch a special Riverdance show

The Grammy Award-winning company will begin a month-long residency on Wednesday. Called Riverdance at Expo, the show is adapted from Riverdance's 25th anniversary production in 2020, with a Middle Eastern twist. The company’s executive director Padraic Moyles told The National they have been working on the production for over a year.

Riverdance at Expo is something truly spectacular, and we cannot wait for visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai to witness the vibrant performance we’ve worked on over the last few months,” he said. “We’re so proud to be able to bring Ireland’s most iconic production to the Middle East at Expo 2020 Dubai.”

Where: Jubilee Stage

When: Wednesday, November 3

Time: 9.30pm

9. Be blown away by Another Kind of Blue

Having won spots in the finals of both America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent, the Netherlands dance troupe will perform Airman, a groundbreaking drone show combined with music and dance. The day is also Netherlands's country day at Expo 2020.

Where: Dubai Expedition Centre

When: Wednesday, November 3

Time: 3pm, 5pm and 8pm

10. Groove to Sri Lankan beats

Experience a lively, colourful and rousing performance of traditional Sri Lankan dancing with the show Song Dance Drama & Drums Of Sri Lanka. A troupe of 12 to 15 dancers will be performing in their colourful costumes, portraying the story of Kashyapa and the Kingdom of Sigiriya, now a famous tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. The performance will also feature the love story of Daskon and Premila, a commoner and a queen, interspersed with drums and dance and contemporary songs.

Where: Sun Stage, Opportunity Zone

When: Saturday, November 6

Time: 7.30pm-8pm and 8.30pm-9pm

Updated: October 31, 2021, 10:41 AM