Words cannot describe how thrilled I am to see the fruition of so many years of preparation and creative development as the new Sea World Yas Island Abu Dhabi comes to life!
I remember back in August of 2019, when Thinkwell first brought me onto the project (thereby earning my heartfelt gratitude!), I was excited to learn that I would be the Creative Director for a theatrical venue in the Abu Dhabi Realm, in charge of the development of two live shows steeped in the heritage and traditions of the country. Now it has to be said that what I knew about the Emirates in general, and Abu Dhabi in particular, probably could have fit into a thimble, but I was game!
What followed was a deep dive (pun intended!) into the history of pearl diving in the Arabian Gulf, traditional regional dress, folklore and oral traditions, music and instruments, local sea life,… the list goes on! And then of course, there was the concept development, the script writing, the storyboarding, the media creation, all leading up to the past four very intense months!
It's been a rollercoaster ride tackling the challenges of launching a new park, and yet so fantastic to wake up every day knowing that you are contributing to the success of a theme park that promises to be one of the most innovative in the world. The process has taught me so much about myself, my leadership skills, my creative problem-solving, and of course, an industry that I'm so passionate about.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the amazing teams at Thinkwell, Miral and EllisDon. Most of all though, I want to give a huge shout-out to my amazing cast who threw themselves whole-heartedly into the challenge of becoming certified free-divers while simultaneously acting out their roles in a language that was not their own.
Below you’ll find a glimpse of the two shows I directed. The first, “A Pearl Diver’s Life”, delves into the cultural and historical tradition that was the mainstay of the region’s economy for thousands of years. The second, “The Fisherman and the Mermaid”, is a fable that reveals the marvels of the marvels that lie beneath the waves of the waters off Abu Dhabi’s shores. Both shows are highly interactive and were a pure joy to write and direct!
The park is absolutely beautiful, and filled with awe-inspiring and innovative technical achievements. Check out the opening ceremony below, which includes the One Epic Ocean Show that "takes guests on a journey using immersive multi-media, a fleet of choreographed drones and spatial audio featuring a 360-degree screen standing at an approximate height of 15 meters and wrapping around the 218-meter perimeter of the One Ocean realm." Truly mind-blowing!