Posted on April 27, 2014

The British Council and the British Embassy celebrate the success of the inaugural British Festival, aimed at bolstering cultural and trade relations between the two nations. The month long festivities included a wide range of activities from music performances to technological innovations and educational events to performance parkour.

Focusing not only on cultural relations, the British Festival 2014 also teamed up with world-leading British shops and brands and major shopping malls in Qatar, with in-store events and promotions. Local hotels embraced the festivities with offers and promotions available for Qatar residents. Additionally the British Festival 2014 received strong support from HE Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Highlights from the British Festival 2014 include:

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Education UK Exhibition (10-12th March 2014): The British Council held the Exhibition at the Radisson Blu and offered potential students, interested parents and local schools the opportunity to meet and engage with 21 of the leading UK higher education institutions, with the intention of growing educational ties between Qatar and the UK. English Language Teaching Conference (27th March 2014): A  Professional Development mini-conference was held for English language  teachers, coordinators and Academic Vice Principals in independent schools, giving them an opportunity to learn about the latest UK language teaching methodology and reflect on their own practice.

Circle of Sound (30th March 2014): The acclaimed music duo Circle of Sound launched their second album ‘Anti Hero,’ at Souq Waqif’s Al Rayyan Theatre, on their first official international tour date. The audience enthusiastically welcomed; Soumik Datta, the renowned sarod player and composer, Austrian drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger, English singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan, Laura Stanford, Rosabella Gregory and Daniel Keane.

BloodhoundSSC (2nd April 2014): The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) showcased the UK’s world-class engineering and innovation expertise through their work supporting the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car (SSC) in Doha. The UWE Bristol team displayed a two meter scale model of the car to invited students from a number of schools in Qatar, who attended a lecture discussing the ground-breaking project’s successes and challenges in attempting to break the land speed record and travel at 1000km per hour.

The Urban Playground (10-12th April): The UK’s unique and admired performance-parkour company gave six free public performances to engaged and excited audiences at Souq Waqif. The group blends authentic Parkour - an urban art form also known as free running - with urban and contemporary dance, for a thrilling visual experience.

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Martin Hope, Director of British Council Qatar, said: “The 2014 British Festival has been a roaring success and for that we are truly grateful to our partners and sponsors, as well as the residents of Qatar who participated in the festivities with such enthusiasm. As the British Council celebrates its 80th anniversary, we will continue our longstanding work connecting local individuals and institutions with the UK through culture and education. We would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage for his continued support. We value our friendship highly and we very much look forward to future collaborations.”

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Nicholas Hopton commented: “We are delighted and proud at how successful British Festival 2014 in Qatar has been. The events and activities have built on the tremendous success of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, by celebrating the strong ties between Qatar and the UK. This month’s festivities provided a platform to showcase some of the UK’s best talent and enterprise. A highlight for me has been the way in which members of the community have participated with great energy and initiative in the festival. I am pleased to announce the British Festival month will be an annual event, and plans for 2015 are already underway.”

Updates on the British Festival 2014 have been shared via the British Council Qatar and the British Embassy Doha official social media channels, under the hashtag #BritFestQA. The month’s festivities were kindly sponsored by Qatar Shell and BAE Systems, and supported by many local partners such as Bhs, Debenhams, East India Company, Ezdan Mall, The Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, Hackett, Hilton Hotel, Imperial Advertising, Intercontinental Doha – The City, Jo Malone, Molton Brown, LuLu Hypermarket Trading Group, Pizza Express, Renaissance Marriot Hotel and Spinneys.

To celebrate the end of the British Festival 2014 British Airways have generously donated a pair of free return economy class tickets to London. The British Embassy will be running an online competition for a chance to win this exciting prize. Applicants must be Qatar residents and can enter the competition at the British Embassy Facebook site or Fashion Rocks Qatar. The lucky winner will be announced in June.

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