• Gala featured five stars from musicals such as Wicked and Dear Evan Hansen
• 200 students, 50 staff from three GEMS Wellington schools performed in gala
• Event displayed strength and breadth of performing arts talent across schools
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis played host to a glittering Performing Arts Gala that saw students and teachers perform alongside professional singers and actors from London’s West End.
Featuring talented performers of all ages from GEMS Wellington International School, GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, and GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, the gala was a celebration of the three schools’ talent and commitment to the arts.
The Gala featured a total of 200 students and 50 teachers, all coming together to perform 19 musical numbers and collectively showcasing the breadth and depth of incredible talent being nurtured across the Wellington schools in Dubai.
The students were joined on stage by five professional singers and actors who have made names for themselves on the stages of London’s West End: Ashleigh Gray who played Wicked’s lead role of Elphaba; Scott Sutcliffe from Mamma Mia and Book of Mormon; Courtney Stapleton from Six and Dear Even Hansen; Mickey Jay-Heath, Urdang International Director (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Barnum); and Gemma McMeel, Urdang International Head of Singing and Acting (Titanic and Big Fish).
The GEMS Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts and Theatre Technology is based at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, with students at all Wellington schools enjoying access to unique opportunities to be mentored by professionals through workshops and week-long residencies. In the past year alone, international professionals have delivered over 300 sessions across the four Wellington schools in the UAE and Qatar.
Jodie Quirke, Wellington Cluster Director of Performing Arts, said: “After last year’s success and the launch of our incredible new partnerships with West End Stage and Urdang International, we wanted to make this year’s gala bigger and brighter than ever – and our students did not disappoint. All of them worked so hard on their performances and it has been an honour to watch them learn from and share the stage with West End professionals. I could not be prouder of all who participated, both on stage and backstage. They are all stars.”
Highlights of the show included the GEMS Orchestra playing hits from The Greatest Showman, conducted by Principal/CEO of GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, Campbell Douglas, who alongside his Master’s degree in Educational Administration holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music; the Wellington Performing Arts Academy singing a Wicked medley with Ashleigh Gray; and the Wellington Singing Scholars – an elite group of singers who benefit from one-to-one weekly singing lessons with Gemma McMeel – singing a Waitress medley with Gemma herself.
In July 2023, West End Stage will bring their world-famous ultimate theatre Summer School to Dubai. The summer school is open to young people from all schools, with West End stars teaching at West End Stage Dubai set to include Joe Griffiths-Brown, who has starred in Hamilton and Frozen, and Laura Harrison, who has performed in Wicked and Blood Brothers. With more teachers to be announced soon, students will learn from the very best in the business.