OUR STORY - The Courtyard Playhouse The Courtyard Playhouse


The Playhouse is a passion project that we decided to tackle in early 2013. We found the Courtyard while looking for warehouse spaces and fell in love with the place. It started out as a partitioned office which we renovated over a period of a year and turned it into a beautiful little theatre. It is a 58 seat auditorium but we also have beanbags for those packed improv' or comedy nights.

We’ve been doing plays and holding acting workshops in Dubai for 7 years now and finally we decided we were tired of renting other peoples space, we wanted to have a ‘home’ for Drama Dubai. We were also tired of complaining about the ‘soulless’ feeling at some theatres and art spaces in Dubai and decided to create something which contrasts sharply with the stereotypical Dubai image of the best, biggest, most famous, etc… so the Playhouse is small, intimate, cosy, quirky, genuinely community-based and made with a lot of love and passion. 

Another motivating factor was to create a space for locally based talent to develop and thrive. A space where artists, writers, directors and community groups could afford to hire and not have to compromise artistically because of the overriding need to sell tickets.

Kemsley discovered his 'calling' when he started teaching improv' as a stand-alone art form early in 2013 and we decided to establish an improv' scene here in Dubai with the Playhouse at it's heart. So far, the place is thriving and growing from strength to strength thanks to the amazing community and talented individuals who have helped us along the way.

We've funded the project with our own savings and with the help of family loans, community crowd-funding and two wonderful partners, Richard and Louisa Coates.

Initial renovations took a year and a half to complete, but it is always a work in progress as we continually improve facilities, add decor and elements to make it a warm, comfortable place with top quality professional theatre tech gear and equipment.

We now have a full compliment of workshops for all ages and events almost every night from stand-up comedy and improv' to community theatre productions and National Theatre screenings.