In 2023, the Spring of Culture Festival will return with its 17th edition, bringing with it some of the largest cultural shows and activities from the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab region, and from around the world.
On January 18, 2023, during a press conference held at the Al Dana Amphitheatre, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, and Al Dana Amphitheatre, in collaboration with Al Riwaq Art Space, Albareh Art Gallery, and Art Concept, announced the agenda of the Spring of Culture Festival.
His Excellency Dr. Ramzan bin Abdullah Al-Nuaimi Minister of Information Affairs, Her Excellency Fatima bint Jaafar Al-Sairafi Tourism Minister, His Excellency Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and Mr. Shane Chalmers, Chief Executive Officer of Al Dana Amphitheatre, have attended the conference, in addition to members of the diplomatic corps, ambassadors, SOC festival partners and supporters, those interested in cultural affairs in Bahrain and media professionals.
On this occasion, His Excellency president of BACA said: “The Spring of Culture is an annual festival that promotes cultural exchange between Bahrain and the rest of the world.” He added: “This year, we have made sure that the festival is part of the larger national vision to promote Bahrain as a center for cultural production and as a space in which all cultures from around the world can find their commons.” His Excellency emphasized that the Spring of Culture has developed for its audience; including Bahrainis, residents and visitors from outside Bahrain, a program full of events that celebrate literature, music, art, fine arts, theatre and many others with the cooperation of all partners, including the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, the Al Dana Amphitheatre, Al Riwaq Art Space, the Albareh Art Gallery, and Art Concept. H.E. Shaikh Khalifa expressed his gratitude to all of the festival's partners, contributors, and supporters for their ongoing support of Bahrain's cultural endeavors.
On his end, Mr. Shane Chalmers, Chief Executive Officer of Al Dana Amphitheatre, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in the 17th edition of the Spring of Culture Festival to further accelerate the artistic and cultural movement in the Kingdom. As a prominent entertainment destination in Bahrain, Al Dana Amphitheatre shares a unified vision with the Spring of Culture to drive tourism in the country with the aim of boosting the national economy. Through our shared outlook, we will continue to work alongside all the involved sectors to make our shared vision a reality. We look forward to the upcoming events hosted at Al Dana Amphitheatre and across the Kingdom.”
The Bahrain Economic Development Board is the 17th Spring of Culture Festival's strategic sponsor; Tamkeen is the gold sponsor; and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) and the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait are silver sponsors. Several embassies in Bahrain, including those of Italy, the United States of America, India, Japan, and France, also contribute to the festival's agenda.
The press conference featured a musical artistic performance by Egyptian artist Mahmoud Saeed and provided insight into the events that make up the Spring of Culture Festival 2023, which is hosted by cultural institutions, historical sites, and urban landmarks across the Kingdom.
Music, singing and performances
The festival will kick off at Bahrain National Theatre on February 14th, which will host a performance of Ahmed Jumairi's "Yal Zina," accompanied by the Bahrain Music Band and led by Maestro Zeyad Zaiman. This concert is being held in celebration of Jumairi's long career and in conjunction with National Action Charter Day. On March 1st, the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra will perform at the Bahrain National Theatre alongside famous Turkish pianist Huseyin Sermet.
Al Dana Amphitheatre will host on the 16th of February the "King of Waltz," André Rieu, and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, and on February 23, the audience will be treated to a performance by American rapper Jack Harlow. On February 24, a performance by renowned American comedian Kevin Hart will be the final treat at Al Dana Amphitheatre.
Throughout the 17th Spring Festival, the Cultural Hall in Bahrain will host a number of evenings and public performances open to the general public. These events will all begin at 8:00 p.m. A performance by Omar Rahbany and the Passport Chamber Ensemble will take place in the venue on February 17. On February 21st, Bahraini artist Ala Ghawas will perform his songs in both Arabic and Englishfrom his nine albums. The hall will host renowned French pianists Maxime Zecchini and David Bismuth on February 28 to perform a selection of French classical music in cooperation with the French Embassy in Bahrain. On March 7, the hall will host Qawwali Night, a musical performance of Islamic Sufi poetry presented in collaboration with the Embassy of India in the Kingdom. In addition, the Cultural Hall will present an "Italian Journey" concert, presented in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Bahrain to pay homage to the great Italian musical tradition. In cooperation with the Embassy of the United States of America, the Brass-A-Holics band will perform a concert on March 14, with the participation of Bahraini singer Esraa Janahi. In a concert titled "AROMAS DEL SUR," Spanish musician Diego Valdivia will perform on March 16th. The Majaz Ensemble will be performing a public concert at the Qal'at Al Bahrain Site Museum on March 2. The concert will feature a fusion of genres created by the ensemble's unique instrumentation.
Beginning on February 20 with singer Hind Hamed and continuing through March 20 with a concert by Nouran Abutaleb, the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research in Muharraq will host several evenings at 8:00 pm.
Traditional music will have a great presence in the Spring of Culture Festival this year. Every Thursday, at 8:00 pm, the Mohammed bin Faris band will present an evening of folk arts at the Mohammed bin Faris Hall in Muharraq. Dar Al Muharraq will host a group of traditional music evenings. On February 18, it will host the Shabab Al Hidd Band, and the Qalali Folk Band on March 11. Dar Bin Harban Band on February 25 will perform at Dar Bin Harban. Dar Al Riffa will feature performances by the Dar Shabab Al Riffa Band on March 4 and the Dar Al Riffa Al Sagheera Band on March 18.
Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority is attracting world classical ballet shows, performed by the world-renowned troupe the Imperial Russian Ballet (IRB). On March 2 and 3, the Grand Hall of the Bahrain World Exhibition Centre in Sakhir will host “Swan Lake”, a world classical orchestral masterpiece, and on March 4 it will host the "Sleeping Beauty" show.
The Spring of Culture also features a series of pop up street theatre performances such as JOHNman Blanko, a traveling street theatre show that uses himself as a blank canvas for kids all over Bahrain. Marlon Panda, an act that combines music and comedy, is also making its way to the kingdom.
Exhibitions and arts
This year's Spring of Culture Festival features a wide variety of vibrant contemporary and modern arts. Albareh Art Gallery is currently hosting "Mutation," an exhibition by Bahraini artist Mohammad Al Mahdi, and the Bahrain National Museum is currently hosting "The Living Sea", an exhibition by Prince Hussain Aga Khan and Simone Piccoli. On February 7th, an exhibition of work by artist Nabeela Al Khayer will open at the Albareh Art Gallery.
The Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research will organize a number of exhibitions. The first of these is "47 Layers," an art show by Hala Mohammed Al Khalifa that opens on February 8 and runs until March 20 in the House of Architectural Heritage. On view at Memory of the Place - Bin Matar House from February 12 through April 13 is "What Night Does II”, an exhibition of artwork by artist Abdulrahim Sharif.
On February 1st, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, in cooperation with the Gulf University, will open an exhibition titled "Features of Bahrain's Civilization" at the Seef Mall (Seef District), which will be on view until March 2nd. The Golden Ratio, an exhibition by Dr. Mayasa Sultan Al Sowaidi, will open at the Art Centre on February 26. The Shaikha Hessa Girls School for International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in Visual Arts students will showcase their work at the Art Centre's Visual Arts Exhibition 2023 on March 21. The Egyptian artist Fadwa Ramadan will have her exhibition "Beyond Languages II" opening at Art Concept on February 12th. On March 5th, the "Treinta caras de la luna" exhibition by Egyptian artist Salah El-Meligy will open to the public. Al Riwaq Art Space will organize the Design Symposium and will host a number of workshops; and discussions for the youth. It will also host the “Application 001” exhibition.
Literary and intellectual lectures, and cultural meetings
The Spring of Culture Festival 2023 features a wide variety of events in the intellectual and literary fields at various locations. Dr. Mubarak Rabie of Morocco will deliver a lecture on Arab Culture in a Changing World in the Bahrain National Museum Auditorium on the 19th of February. The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities will present a lecture by Dr. Bouchaib Saouri on the Constants and Transformations of the Arab Journey at the beginning of the third millennium on February 22 in collaboration with the Bahrain Writers Association. The "Muharraq Talks," which bring together urban planners, architects, and sociologists, to talk about the future of the city's ongoing urban renewal, will take place on March 4 in the public squares of the Pearling Path. On March 21, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities will celebrate the Arab and World Poetry Day at the Bahrain National Museum.
The Abdullah Al Zayed House for Bahraini Press Heritage and the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research will host a series of lectures. These include talks by South Korean diplomat Kang Kyung-Wha on "Women's Leadership" on February 6 and journalist Nadim Quteish on The Real Division in the Region on February 27. Amira Ghoneim, a Tunisian author, will speak on March 6 about women and citizenship in Tunisia. Manuel Rabaté, the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi's current Director, will speak on March 7, and Fahad Al Shaqran will speak on March 27 about philosophy in the Arab world. On February 13th, the House of Poetry - Ebrahim Al Arrayed will host a poetry evening by the Jordanian poet Eman Abdulhadi, and another evening by the Jordanian-Palestinian poet Rashid Issa on March 13th.
Other activities and events
The 2023 Japanese Film Festival will be a must-attend event for fans of Japanese cinema. In collaboration with the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Embassy in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Bahrain National Museum will hold two screenings of two films from the Japanese Film Library on February 15 and 17. An E-scooter tour of the Pearling Path in Muharraq, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s second UNESCO World Heritage site, will take place on February 18 in collaboration with Escooter Bahrain. BACA will host a walkathon from the Qal'at Al Bahrain Site to the Barbar Temples Site on February 25 with the support of the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC). The "Little Archaeologist" program, which educates children and teenagers about archaeological sites and the ancient artifacts they contain, will be run on March 4.
In February and March, four immersive culinary experiences will be available at four different venues within the World Heritage Site “Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy”: Qal’at Bu Mahir, Murad House, the Pearling Path Visitors Centre, and the Archaeologies of Green Pavilion. Participants will travel through a culinary journey discovering the stories behind Bahraini cuisine.
In addition to its artistic offerings, the educational program of the Spring of Culture Festival, now in its seventeenth edition, will feature a wide range of workshops aimed at honing artistic skills and releasing creative potential. Al Jasra Crafts Centre, the Flexible Theatre at Bahrain National Theatre, House of Basket Weaving, the Cultural Hall, are all hosting workshops, in addition to Al Riwaq Art Space.
As part of the festival’s commitment to reaching out to the needs of the local community, the Spring of Culture Community Programme, in collaboration with Al Dana Amphitheatre continues its efforts to organize several workshops for various governmental and social institutions. The workshops are held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, The National Bank of Bahrain Rehabilitation Home for Disabled and cultural institutes.
Tickets for Spring of Culture events are sold on the website WWW.SPRINGOFCULTURE.ORG . Tickets for Al Dana Amphitheatre events are sold on the website WWW.ALDANA.COM.BH. As for tickets for Bahrain National Theatre events, they are sold at the Virgin Megastore store and on the website: VIRGINMEGASTORE.ME As for tickets to the ballet shows at Bahrain International Exhibition Centre, follow the website: PLATINUMLIST.NET.
To follow the latest news about the Spring of Culture Festival in its seventeenth edition, you can follow the official account @springofculture on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The website www.springofculture.org has more information about the festival, its activities and events, as well as registration for the various workshops.