The theater serves as more than just a training ground for children to learn acting; it also promotes the importance of play and imparts lessons in collaboration, communication, creativity, and confidence. The hive, a drama and public speaking school, has been operating for 10 years and is the largest of its kind in the UAE, with over 1,000 students honing their skills each term. At the heart of the hive’s efforts lies their theater festival.

Founder of the hive, Malavika Varadan, expresses the festival's aim: “Our goal with the festival is to eliminate the obstacles hindering children from participating in performing arts in the city. Ticket prices for shows typically range from Dh100 to Dh1,000, making theater an expensive venture for families. By offering free theater shows, we ensure a supportive audience for our young actors and provide children across the UAE the opportunity to witness high-quality performances by their peers. After all, exposure to good theater is essential for creating good theater.”

Featured plays include The Elephant in My Kitchen, The Witches, Goldilocks on Trial, Inside Out and Upside Down, and How to Overthrow a Student Government.

The Hive Children’s Theatre Festival is the only drama festival in the region organized by kids, for kids, bringing together over 600 young actors in 66 shows over six weekends, and the most distinguishing feature is that it is free to attend.

The hive children’s theatre festival takes place from May 18 to June 30. The festival schedule is accessible through the Instagram account @liveathive, providing links to reserve free seats, or via email at