UAE National Day – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi


MRL were asked to return to the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, where we had previously worked on the Gulf Cup, to deliver the safety management for the culmination of the United Arab Emirates National Day celebrations in early December 2011.

Jools Bentley was despatched to the UAE for almost 10 weeks, assisted by Tony Whitehouse for a couple of weeks, to oversee the project.

Jools said “it was great to be back in Abu Dhabi, working on such a prestigious event”; the show at Sheikh Zayed Stadium was a surprise for His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, organised by the Sheikha Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahayan Foundation and featured military displays and a fantastic choreographed performance, telling the history of the UAE, featuring a cast of thousands, a huge StageCo structure and an awful lot of special effects.

“These shows are always a challenge to work on”, said Jools “they incorporate so many cast members, technicians and performers and the props, special effects and performance area were some of the most complicated and involved I have ever had to deal with”.

Working closely with the Production Manager, Nick Levitt and a hugely experienced team, together with the Abu Dhabi Royal Household, the Sheikha Salama Foundation, the Military and Police, MRL Safety were able to assist in delivering the creative vision of the production directors and creative team.

“I always enjoy going out to work on these projects; they are so ambitious and challenging and can really push you to the limit. Working in different countries gives you a different perspective on how you are doing your job and you need to be flexible in order to deal with the inevitable changes that occur on these types of shows” said Jools.

“I knew a lot of the team who came out from the UK, as well as many of the local providers, which made things a lot easier and the Royal Household, Police and Military couldn’t have been more helpful. The whole team worked really hard to deliver an impressive show and this was acknowledged when many of the key team were invited to a ‘thank you’ lunch by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi a couple of days after the performance which was a really nice gesture”.

“I feel that I’ve made some good friends in Abu Dhabi through this show and I’m looking forward to the next time I go out to work in the UAE on the next ambitious project”.

You can see footage of the show here and some great photographs, courtesy of Kenny Underwood, on our photos page.

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