Special Guests Visit GEMS Schools


Isaiah Delisi, Staff Writer

On the 2nd of November 2020, several GEMS schools were the fortunate beneficiary of visits from famous actor, Tarinn Callendar. Callendar is best known for his stage performances in the West End (New York City, USA) play, “Hamilton”.  Mr. Callendar was in the United Arab Emirates to visit and participate in ArtsEd Partnership schools at various GEMS schools and to conduct performance arts workshops and masterclasses with students and teachers.  After visits to WPS and WEK on Monday, November 2nd, Callendar spent four days at GEMS Wellington Silicon Oasis (WSO). In light of the unusual Covid-19 world pandemic, the GEMS staff practiced extensive precautionary measures to protect the health of all students, faculty and Mr. Callendar.  Even with the proper distancing, students were able to observe and learn the fine points of professional acting. 

How Did the Visit Happen?

WSO performance arts teacher, Jodie Quirke, won the visit by Mr. Tarinn by winning a musical theater quiz against other schools in Dubai. Ms. Quirke proclaimed “I am thrilled about this opportunity… and delighted to have welcomed Tarinn. We were pleased for him sharing his expertise with our students.”  Numerous students shared the excitement of having a world famous actor spending a lot of time with them, teaching the intricate details of becoming a professional performer. One student said, “Without question, the techniques and training tools shared by Tarinn will make me and my classmates better performers!”

Highlight of the Visit

One highlight of the visit was the opportunity for year five performing arts students at WSO to showcase their rap and lyrical talents. “This was such an honor to perform in front of a celebrity,” said one student rapper.  After the four day workshops, conducted for all grades at WSO, which is considered the flagship for ArtEd in the UAE, Callendar paid personal or virtual visits to WPS, WEK, RDS and JPS.

Continuing to Reach Out

Abu Dhabi and GAA were not on the list for this tour, but GEMS is often the visit destination for celebrity athletes, actors, singers and former US Presidents. The benefits of exposure to highly successful people and hearing the story of their journey are invaluable to students. Most of these celebrities started off as “average” people, similar to our students.  Through a driving vision and passion to pursue their interests, they were able to achieve their dream.  This encourages each of us to reach for the stars and to learn from those who have captured them.