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Five minutes…Craig Hartenstine, executive producer, Dubai show La Perle by Dragone

Five minutes…Craig Hartenstine, executive producer, Dubai show La Perle by Dragone

The show has welcomed “several hundred thousand guests” in its first year of operations

1. How has the first year been for La Perle? Did you achieve what you hoped to do?

The first year of La Perle has been very successful. We have welcomed several hundred thousand guests from 178 countries to 422 performances of La Perle. We’ve won several awards both nationally and internationally. It’s a strong start but we’re aware that this is only the beginning of the journey for us and our audiences.

As with any business, the first year brings unforeseen challenges and opportunities. We have learned so much and are thrilled how well received the show has been.

2. In terms of visitors – has it mostly been tourists or residents? Do you see several repeat customers?

For the first few months of operation, the majority of our audience was residents. After that we saw a significant shift and now our audiences are mostly tourists. It was imperative for us to capture the interest of the residents first, for them to embrace La Perle as part of the Dubai experience.

Just as in in Las Vegas, residents usually only go and see a resident show every three years, so we expected to move our focus to the tourists visiting the city. We’ve worked very closely with DTCM [Dubai Tourism] and are well on the way to becoming part of every tourist’s holiday in Dubai.

We have seen a lot of repeat visitors though, including one lady who has been to see the show 12 times. We’re finding ways to provide experiential opportunities to give back to these loyal audience members.

3. The regional entertainment industry has seen a boom in new attractions. Is increased competition good for the industry?

The growth of Dubai’s live entertainment offering is great for us.

We are happy to see the success of Dubai Opera and can’t wait to see what Dubai Arena brings. We all contribute to making Dubai the epicentre for live entertainment in the region and become an independent driver of for new segments of tourists.

4. Will more events coming into the market bring down prices?

When we entered the market, we strategically and competitively marked ourselves price-wise. Since opening we have constantly kept our ear to the ground to ensure La Perle delivers value exceeding our audiences’ expectation. Other events will come and go and deliver their own value. We see them as comparables more than competition.

5. Looking ahead, how are you luring more visitors? Any specific campaigns?

Our plans in 2019 are to continue raising awareness of La Perle internationally, focusing on the key markets such as the GCC, Russia, UK, China and India. We’ve identified the main holidays, events and celebrations happening in the UAE and abroad, so we can create tailored packages and promotions.

We’ll also continue to create new and unique experiential opportunities for specific audiences.

6. Do you see any major changes in the show or will it stay the same in the near future?

The show’s creator, the legendary artistic director, Franco Dragone, visited La Perle numerous times last year, making significant enhancements to the show, which will continue to happen to ensure the show stays fresh.

What’s also amazing is the way the theatre is designed means that every seat has a different view of the action, so two people sitting on opposite sides would come out noticing things that the other never saw, that’s why people have to experience the show more than once.

7. Are you looking at expanding further in the UAE or into the wider GCC?

La Perle is a resident show exclusively for Al Habtoor City, you will never find the show in any other hotel or country. The show takes place in our tailor-made aqua theatre, which has been designed for La Perle only.

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