Acorn Theatre

Peter Clark’s Emirates Diaries: From Sheikhs to Shakespeare


Peter Clark has lived a fascinating life, full of an array of cultures and people. In this session, he’ll be talking about his book ‘Emirates Diaries: From Sheikhs to Shakespeare’, which is an affectionate and mischievous portrait of Abu Dhabi and its people.

By the 1980s the UAE was ready for take-off. The discovery of oil had catapulted the small fishing village into a world economic power. People from across the world flocked to the newly formed Emirates with dreams of new beginnings, cultures and businesses. In 1988, Peter Clark joined the Abu Dhabi British Council. He was at first unexcited by the prospect of a new country, seemingly devoid of the ancient history he craved in Florence, Rome and other European cities, but his experiences proved Abu Dhabi to be far from boring.

Peter introduced a riotous Shakespeare company, organised the return of explorer Wilfred Thesinger and greeted royalty, politicians and celebrities. He spent four years as British Cultural Attaché when the country was on the cusp of massive developments. With fluent Arabic, he had access and insights denied to most visitors. This session will be full of anecdotes and interesting facts about a period of history when everything was changing.