The annual month-long British Festival has officially kicked off in Qatar, with several dozen events, including exhibitions, musical performances and other activities planned through April 3.
Organizers said the festival builds on the ties fostered during the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, which focused on collaborations in the areas of art, commerce, culture, education and science.
The festival comes at a time when Qatar and UK officials are working to smooth over the strain caused by British media coverage of the 2022 World Cup bid, as well as alleged human rights abuses.
Last summer, Britain’s Ambassador to Qatar, Nicholas Hopton, responded to complaints from Qataris about the negative press by issuing a statement to all Arabic language newspapers in Doha.
In it, he stressed the independence of the UK media, and made clear that the British government has no influence over what it publishes.
He added that the UK would continue to support Qatar in the future, as it always has.
Last year, one of the most popular features of the British Festival was a performance from UK parkour company Urban Playground.
This year, highlights of the festival include:
- A concert from the Baroque Choral Society on March 10;
- Macbeth performed by the Doha Players from March 12 to 19;
- An international debating competition on March 16; and
- A Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra rendition of Night of the Proms, directed by Scottish-born conductor Bob Ross on April 3.
The festival will close with a concert by award-winning traditional Scottish band, Breabach, who will perform with Qatari musician Mohamed Al Saigh on April 5 at the Al Rayyan Theater in Souq Waqif.
Also as part of the month’s festivities, Lulu Hypermarkets are selling a number of UK imports, including various teas, chocolates and other foodstuffs.
See the full schedule here.