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Deep dive into the Expo 2020 Dubai experience

From live shows to interactive storytelling, tech marvels to the future of food, Gillian Hamburger Senior Vice President of Programming at Expo 2020 Dubai gives us an idea of what to expect at the Expo

Dubai: Let me guess what you will be doing at Expo 2020 Dubai next year. I can almost see you there, standing in front of the Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of the Expo, trying to fit everything in your schedule. Those who plan well in advance will make the most of the Greatest Show on Earth. But for many of us who just land there, the challenge, of course, will be to choose. A live show or some puppetry? Watching the fireworks or visiting a country pavilion? Trying out an immersive dining experience or enjoying the jaw dropping architecture? Or just walking around and enjoying the feel of the place? Hard decisions, right?

Gillian Hamburger, Senior Vice President of Programming at Expo 2020 Dubai, says the greatest thrill a visitor will experience at Expo 2020 Dubai is to choose from the intense cultural experiences on offer, the unique food and beverage offerings, going around the world with 192 country pavilions on site and learning and experiencing exciting topics in an informative and interesting way. Hamburger is responsible for the curation, programming and connection of the multitude of events and entertainment that will make up Expo 2020 Dubai.

“One of the amazing things about Expo 2020 Dubai is that it is built for all ages and cultures. So if you want to either explore a new country or try some new food, see some wonderful entertainment, and immerse yourself into innovation and get a global perspective on a variety of topics, then you will find everything here.”

The Expo will have a special focus on kids, keeping in mind their needs. So expect some great programmes for children on site. For example, there will be puppetry, storytelling and interactive workshops, live parades, and a chance to meet Rashid and Latifa, the Expo mascots and their lovely friends.

“There will be so much to see and do in each of the country pavilions as well,’ says Hamburger. “We are now telling the participating countries not to limit their offerings to their pavilion plots. Each country has an immensely rich content programming and we want to spread it across the 16 plus venues on site and across the public realm.”

Programme venues

Expo 2020 Dubai will have 16 plus venues for the different programmes planned. There will be a stage set in each of the thematic districts that can accommodate 350 people, an amphitheater in the Al Forsan Park that can accommodate 2,500 people, a festival space in Jubilee park that will accommodate 15,000 people. Besides this there will be auditorium spaces in the sustainability and opportunity pavilions, and other smaller spaces in the mobility pavilions. And in addition to all this, you can expect street entertainers and performers at the many designated performance spaces in and around the Expo site.

Hamburger advises UAE visitors to get either a monthly pass or a seasonal pass as there will be enough to do repeat visits. “You can come here after work and have some great food and watch the fireworks. Or on the weekened you can bring your family and visit the pavilions. The one thing you would not want to miss is the immersive experience offered by the Al Wasl Plaza,’ she says.

Dining experience

The other exciting thing about Expo 2020 Dubai will be the food and beverage experience. “There will be two special experiences talking about The Journey of Food and The Future of Food. This will be an immersive dining experience that uses Augmented Reality. Also what is exciting is that you will no longer be expected to go and buy food like you have been used to. You will have to use your kinetic energy to receive food.”

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