Meet our team
Executive Artistic Director
Bill Bragin, a leading figure in music and performing arts programming, is the first executive artistic director of The Arts Center at New York University Abu Dhabi. Called “one of the most influential figures in the New York live-music business” by The New York Times, Bragin brings extensive experience, creativity, and his own unique multidisciplinary vision to the role.
Called a “game-changer” (The National) in the UAE since it began its programs in 2015 on Saadiyat Island, under his leadership, The Arts Center is a winner of the 2018 and 2019 Pride of Abu Dhabi Award, and Bragin has been a finalist twice for Abu Dhabi AmCham’s Falcon Individual Award for Excellence. Bragin is a co-founder of the not-for-profit world music festival and service organization globalFEST, 2018 winner of the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. As director of public programming of NY’s Lincoln Center from 2008-2014, he oversaw the Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors festivals, and programmed the David Rubenstein Atrium. As Director of Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater from 2001-2007, he presented thousands of performances, and commissioned the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange. Previous activities include serving as Curator of Music Programs at Symphony Space, General Manager of the NYNO record label, and Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Central Park SummerStage, and associate producer at George Wein’s Festival Productions, Inc. Bragin was music advisor for the TED Conferences, and has served as a jury member, advisor, or speaker for acclaimed conferences and organizations including WOMEX (Worldwide Music Expo), South by Southwest (SXSW), Atlantic Music Expo, National Endowment for the Arts, Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS) and Porto Musical, among many others. As “Acidophilus”, he has djed internationally as part of GlobeSonic Sound System.
Manager of Administration and Artist Management
Leila Debbazi joined NYU Abu Dhabi in November 2012, leading the administration for the Arts faculty under the Arts & Humanities department. She worked extensively with program heads in Film & New Media, Art & Art History, Music and Theater. In April 2015 she transitioned to The Arts Center to support the Executive Artistic Director, and was heavily involved in the preparation and launch of The Arts Center. She leads the administration for all Arts Center activities and operations, and provides support to all team members and events. She graduated from the University of Westminster with an honors degree in Arabic & International Relations.
Associate Director of External Relations
Reem Saleh studied film at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. She began her career as a stage and film actress and worked for 11 years in TV on various aspects of content creation and executive director for TV documentaries for Murr TV Lebanon (MTV), Rotana Enterprise and Jazeera Children’s Channel (now Jeem TV) . She also worked as assistant director on numerous productions, including Assad Fouladkar’s award-winning film When Maryam Spoke Out (2001). She has directed the short film The Naked Eye, the stage play Wings written by Arthur Kopit. Most recently Reem released her first feature independent documentary What Comes Around shot over a period of 6 years in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Cairo, Rod El Farag. The film received international acclaim after its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018 and has been touring the world since.
For 7 years Reem worked for the Doha Film Institute, and headed the creative team of the Ajyal Film Festival for 5 years as Deputy director. She often contributes in supporting film organizations including moderating film talks and press conferences for the Berlin Film Festival. For the last few years, Reem worked as External Relations Officer with The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi before joining The Arts Center team as Associate Director of External Relations.
Lana Goliath joined The Arts Center team in June 2019 as the Associate Producer. Lana moved to the UAE from South Africa in 2016 and worked at the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts foundation (ADMAF) and in the performing arts department of Brighton College Abu Dhabi.
Lana worked for many years at the Baxter Theatre Centre as the Personal Assistant to Lara Foot, Artistic Director of the theatre and took on the role as an Administrative Producer for a community theatre festival and visiting/touring productions. She also worked as the company manager on a touring production in the Netherlands in 2010, and in 2012, she completed a 6 week producing internship in the Edinburgh Theater festival with the Assembly Festival team.
Lana is also a trained African contemporary dancer and was part of the Jazzart Dance Theatre under the directorship of Alfred Hinkel in Cape Town, SA. She has performed in various events and festivals across the country; National Arts Festival, Dance Umbrella, Infecting the City and Baxter Dance Festival.
Director of Marketing and Audience Engagement
Clive Primrose has worked in marketing in the UAE since 2008. Coming from the advertising industry where he worked on large concerts, expos, government initiatives, automotive, and art and design fields, Clive joined The Arts Center team in 2016. Before coming to the UAE from South Africa, Clive organized various cultural and music events and club nights in his hometown of Johannesburg. Outside of day to day work he also DJed in South Africa and Dubai for the likes of 360 Degrees at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Dubai Jazz Festival. Clive heads up communications and marketing for The Arts Center working across digital and traditional media.
Director of Production
Chris Pye is a seasoned production manager, master electrician and lighting designer with a varied experience of touring, production and corporate work. Before joining the Arts Center, Pye was Deputy Head of Lighting at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman since 2010. Prior to emigrating, he gained a wide experience in all aspects of the performing arts from working in notable international arts venues such as; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The National Theatre, London and the Mick Jagger Centre for Performing Arts. He is also an experienced programmer of lighting and AV in family entertainment centres. Examples within the UAE include Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the Yas Island Water Park.