There are many things that make the UAE one of the world’s most attractive destinations for tourists and people living in the region. World-class shopping, five-star hotels and year-round sunshine. Performing arts, however, have perhaps lagged a little behind the development of other attractions. Until now.

Dubai Opera; another icon in Dubai and a cultural one too, opened its doors on August 31, heralding a new era for entertainment in the emirate. The new venue already has hosted a wide variety of performers, ballet troupes, finest orchestras, opera singers and dancers in quality entertainment productions. On Saturday, March 11 the Dubai Opera marks its 100th show.

Also La Perle by Dragone, a theatrical, Vegas-style spectacle will take up permanent residence at a purpose-built theatre in Al Habtoor City later this year. Unlike anything to have appeared in the Middle East before, La Perle is the brainchild of one the most recognisable names in live entertainment of this kind, Franco Dragone, a founding father of the iconic Cirque du Soleil brand.

Dubai-based directors are in the process of preparing about two-and-a-half hours of stunts and spectacles, before Dragone himself arrives to sequence and curate the routines into a 90-minute show, which is expected to "soft launch" before Ramadan.

As is Dragone’s speciality, much of the show will take place over water, with a 2.7-million liter "aqua stage" that can be drained in less than a minute for land-bound stunts.

Billed as Dubai’s first permanent theatre show, the 1,300-seat venue will host more than 450 performances a year.

Reflecting on this latest step forward, Dragone said: "Dubai is the laboratory of the future, a crossroads of cultures where 21st century people live. In Dubai, we are living and experiencing what will happen in the world in 10-20 years from now, it’s a city of the future, so that is why Dubai is the right place to do this show."