Abu Dhabi’s biggest outdoor movie festival is back – and this time you’re going to want to wear your platform boots.
There’s something special about going to the cinema. From the huge bucket of popcorn balanced precariously on your knee to the hush that falls over the theatre as the trailers roll and you settle into a plush seat, it’s a thing that has universal appeal.
Whether it’s a sci-fi epic, a nail-biting thriller or a tear-jerking romance, movies take us out of the ordinary and into an immersive world full of infinite possibilities.
If that sounds good to you, grab your popcorn as the ultimate movie marathon is coming back to town, and you really don’t want to miss it.
From 18th to 20th October, Yas Movies in the Park will take over du Arena for three days of silver screen entertainment – and best of all, it’s free!
Pass the popcorn
The fun kicks off on 18th October with a triple bill, starting with Disney classic Moana, then prehistoric Jurassic World, and after dark, horror fans can enjoy their own fright night with a showing of IT.
On 19th October, dancing queens had better get ready as Mamma Mia! will be on screen accompanied by live singing and dancing to all the ABBA classics from London’s West End crew.
It’s the perfect chance to dress up and sing along – but more on that later. After all the action on the stage, chick-flick How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days will screen, providing a mellow close to the evening.
On 20th October, it’s all about the family to close out the weekend, with Disney classic The Lion King followed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
While you’re waiting for the action to start on the big screen, there’s plenty for film buffs big and small to enjoy.
If you’re the type that relishes any excuse for fancy dress, then don your favourite movie character costume for a chance to enter the competitions running throughout the three day event.
Roll up for the carnival and funfair, where a variety of rides, activities and games await, as well as a 3D simulation zone, a flower crown workshop and free photo booths where you can make some cool memories.
Little ones can go wild in the Kids Zone, where bouncy castles, face painting and arts and crafts await, while the whole family can get in on the trampoline area.
Once you’ve bounced away all your energy, you can refuel at the event’s many food trucks and stalls before hitting the picnic area to catch the film. Don’t forget to bring a blanket or camping chairs so you can get comfortable.
Thank you for the music
Bringing big screen entertainment to life on stage, Friday’s Mamma Mia! is the weekend headliner thanks to an all-singing, all-dancing live performance from London’s West End cast.
“There’s really no better way to enjoy music than by singing it with family, friends and live performers,” enthuses Nicholas Maude, who plays Bill, one of Sophie’s potential dads, in the performance.
“Both Mamma Mia! movies have been a celebration to the music of ABBA, whose songs have been with many of us for most of our lives. You won’t fail to leave without feeling somewhat uplifted.”
Blaise Colangelo, who stars as lead role Sophie, agrees: “It’s such a fun and uplifting show, I love everything about it – as cheesy as that sounds! The music is brilliant and the storyline is relatable to many. It is a great show for the whole family.”
Together with the rest of the cast, Blaise and Nicholas will be singing ABBA’s most famous tunes throughout the screening – and you’d better believe that singing along is not just allowed, but thoroughly encouraged.
“The music is so iconic [that] audience members can’t help but sing along when you perform such songs,” Nicholas explains.
“It’s infectious but probably one you won’t mind catching. We’ll be singing some of the more acoustic numbers around the park during the afternoon but the stage will host some of the famous dance floor fillers.”
If you fancy a boogie but have two left feet, never fear, as the cast will be on hand to teach you some of the steps, meaning there’s no excuse not to get up and dance your heart out.
“We’ll be teaching some of the moves during the afternoon among all the sing-a-longs and immersive fun,” Nicholas says.
“But the finale when the entire cast performs together – that’s going to be fantastic.” So what can audiences expect on show night – should we all dig out the sequined jumpsuits?
“Now that would be telling,” laughs Blaise. “All I can say is that you need to register for your free ticket now to come and watch us at Yas Movies in the Park for a day full of fABBAulous fun.”
Knowing me, knowing you
We challenge Blaise and Nicholas from the West End theatre crew for some quick hitter questions inspired by ABBA’s greatest hits…
♫ Dancing Queen
What’s your signature move on the dance floor?
Blaise: Well… This is embarrassing, but it has to be ‘big fish little fish cardboard box’ – it is an all-time favourite of mine.
Nicholas: ‘Shopping bags!’ Basically you mime picking up shopping bags and then move groovily with the music. Every time I have failed to do this with dignity. I’m hoping to insert this routine into the performance.
Who’s the one person you call when you have a minor life emergency?
Blaise: My twin sister, Sienna. She is my go-to girl – there isn’t anything she doesn’t know about me, and she would 100 percent be there to get me out of any tricky situation.
Nicholas: That would have to be the wife, as she would simply tell me to ‘Man up!’
♫ Does Your Mother Know
Do you have a small (clean!) secret you’ve never been able to tell your parents? Fess up!
Blaise: You know what … I have to admit, I am a bit of a goody two shoes and my parents know all of my silly antics!
Nicholas: I did actually buy ABBA’s greatest hits on CD!
♫ The Winner Takes it All
Do you have a weird talent?
Blaise: I wouldn’t say it was a talent, but I can turn my eyelids inside out. I’d like to say it’s a crowd-pleaser, but I am not sure my audience finds me as funny as I find myself!
Nicholas: Not that I can think of although I’ve always had a fascination with puppets and in fact own a few. I just wish I was good at doing voices since they all sound a bit posh!
♫ Money, Money, Money
If you suddenly came into a large inheritance, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Blaise: I would book a big expensive holiday in the sunshine for me and my family!
Nicholas: Hide it and not tell the wife!
Need to know:
Be a VIP
Movies in the Park is free, but for front-row access, you’re going to need a VIP ticket. For AED 50 on 18th and 20th October, and AED 90 on 19th October, you’re guaranteed a seat front and centre, plus a plush beanbag and two free soft drinks.
What: Yas Movies in the Park
When: 18th-20th October, daily 3pm–midnight
Where: du Arena, Yas Island
Cost: Free. AED 50 for VIP tickets for 18th and 20th October, AED 90 for 18th October Visit: yasmovies.ae
WORDS Camille Hogg