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Performing Arts at WSO

GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis – Centre of Excellence for Performance and Theatre Tech

GEMS WSO is proud to be the Centre of Excellence for Performance and Theatre Tech, offering outstanding learning experiences in the Arts while blending school, industry and university through hi-tech, professional partners.

Student pathways are designed from Foundation Stage through to Post 16 curriculum, offering holistic skill development for on and off stage. Syllabus qualifications such as UDO, LAMDA, Urdang and industry integration with West End Stage, Firdaus Studios and SAE (Sound Audio Engineering), create unique learning experiences with greater relevance to the world of the future, this allows for early identification of emerging talent within the Performing Arts Academy. 


BTEC Pathways


GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, Centre of Excellence in Performance and Theatre Tech has been successfully offering the Level 3 BTEC Performing Arts programme for almost five years now.  This course is equivalent to three A-Levels and will bridge the gap to leading conservatoires and careers within the Performing Arts Industry.

Our bespoke BTEC Performing Arts programme has been designed through our partnerships with West End Stage, UDO and Urdang.All three partnerships offer exclusive learning experiences to the BTEC students, ensuring that the course is current and relevant to the industry today. Our highly skilled teaching staff will work in collaboration with international artists, venues and industry professionals to provide high quality training.As a Centre of Excellence for Performance and Theatre Tech, working alongside West End Stage and Urdang for weekly curriculum support, we are able to provide our students with a world class Performing Arts education. At WSO, the BTEC students also have the opportunity to take an A-Level, IB or BTEC in conjunction with this course, if they wish, making for a holistic and personalised learning pathway.

We look forward to welcoming you to the WSO Performing Arts Family!

Tarinn Callender

We are thrilled to introduce our esteemed Patron of Performing Arts, the immensely talented West End stage actor and singer Tarinn Callender.

With credits that include unforgettable roles in hit musicals like Hamilton, Kiss Me Kate, The Drifters Girl, and Come From Away, Tarinn brings a wealth of experience and artistry to our community.

Beyond his electrifying performances, Tarinn has generously dedicated his time and expertise to mentor and coach our performing arts students. His passion for nurturing young talent and fostering artistic growth embodies the spirit of our school.

As the inaugural Patron of Performing Arts at WSO, Tarinn stands as a beacon of inspiration and guidance for our students, empowering them to explore their creativity and reach for the stars.

We are honoured and privileged to have Tarinn as a member of our WSO family, and we look forward to the exciting journey ahead under his patronage.


Our Centre of Excellence

Watch our video and hear from Parents, Students and Managers to discover more about our Centre of Excellence for Performance and Theatre Tech.’

What our Parents have to say

  • Our son loves Performing Arts and wants to make it his profession. We looked at other schools for our son entering Secondary; none of them seemed to have the opportunities that WSO provide. Coming from a Performing Arts background, I can say that WSO really is an exceptional school for Performing Arts. It is their forte.

    Katie Downey

    Parent of Aidan Downey (Year 6)

  • Our family feels so fortunate to have found the WSO performing arts department. We transferred our daughter to attend GEMS WSO specifically because if the department and have not regretted our decision for a second. We are so thankful to have found  a school with such a strong commitment to performing arts that we no longer need to consider sending our daughter overseas post-16 to ensure she has world class training for her dream of a career on the stage. The Leadership team and teaching staff have unrivalled academic qualifications and global professional performance experience, and they combine these attributes with incredible passion and drive nothing is too much trouble. In addition to the large and dedicated full time team, partnerships with Urdang and West End Stage ensure that children’s talents in singing, dancing and acting are nurtured by specialists and developed to reach their full potential so that the school shows are setting a new bar for the UAE. As more parents of talented children find the school the department is sure to continue to grow and excel and the sky is the limit to what they can achieve!

    Victoria Thatcher

    Parent of Aerin Thatcher, Year 10 Student

  • Our Daughter has been a student at WSO since it opened its doors back in 2011, she discovered a passion for performing arts and with the expertise of the staff she has performed in many fantastic shows, the highlight so far was when she was given the opportunity to audition for Evita at Dubai Opera House, out of hundreds of school children, she made it to the final 12, she had the time of her life performing with the touring West End Cast, this opportunity of a life time wouldn’t of been possible without WSO.

    Now a secondary student, she enjoys her Elite musical theatre tutor group each day, they are always working of something exciting! Performing arts at WSO is truly outstanding and we look forward to the next school year

    Nickie Willoughby

    Parent of Teah Willougby, Year 11 Student

  • GEMS WSO have provided my daughters with fabulous opportunities in dance and choir. In partnership with UDO, my eldest was awarded a UDO Dance scholarship and has danced in the UDO World Championships in the UK as part of WSO’s elite dance crew, Adrenaline. Under the watchful eye of Miss Tate and Miss Hodge plus the UDO professional industry dancers, Adrenaline has won numerous dance awards and competitions.

    My youngest has been part of WSO’s elite choir, Resonance for 4 years. Last year being awarded “Best a cappella choir” at Choirfest, hosted at Dubai Opera, was one of the year’s highlights. Resonance were also invited to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall with the world-renowned composer and conductor Eric Whitacre. A truly memorable trip for all of the Resonance team.  

    Opportunities like these are rare and I feel privileged that my daughters are immersed in a school whose PA department is totally committed to nurturing their amazing, talented students.

    Amanda Austin

    Parent of Ella-Mae Austin, Year 12 Student 

What our Events Manager and Performing Arts Director have to say.

  • At WSO, we go above and beyond to train and grow students in Performing Arts, while providing industry recognised qualifications and pathways to our students. We work with our university partner: Urdang International and industry partners: West End Stage and UDO. Our bespoke Performing Arts curriculum is also designed strategically with our professional partners, meaning that learning is bespoke, tailored and personalised. Through performance, we help students develop their communication, confidence, collaboration and creativity skills and nurture learners and performers who are well rounded and ready for the world. The expertise of our highly specialised team, paired with unwavering passion, means that we are able to provide an exceptional education in the Arts. We strive to provide unique learning experiences that the students will remember for a lifetime.


    Jodie Quirke 

    Wellington Director of Performing Arts

  • At WSO, our commitment is to provide diverse dance education through our partnership with UDO Academy Dubai. Over the past decade, our Adrenaline Youth Dance Company has achieved a 100% pass rate in Street Dance Exams, with many students earning their UDO Instructors Street Dance Qualification and World Street Dance titles. Students benefit from our exclusive training; we are excited to soon launch the new UDO Commercial Syllabus to our provision.

    Our flagship status with UDO Academy Dubai includes hosting the inaugural UDO Middle East Championships, a qualifier for the prestigious UDO World Street Dance Championships in the UK. This event provides a unique opportunity to unite the Middle East Street Dance Community.

    We strive to engage and inspire students of all ages, fostering creativity and imagination through dance. This commitment is reflected in our dance education programs, including the Performing Arts Curriculum, the WSO Adrenaline Youth Dance Academy Pathway, COE Saturday Academy, UDO community outreach classes, and the new UDO Boys-only provision, currently serving 58 boys.

    WSO remains dedicated to excellence in dance education, as recognized in 2019 when we were awarded the 'Best Dance School' in the UAE for an Academic School. Our success is further amplified through our Center of Excellence (COE), where students continue to excel in other various UDO classes, such as Ballet, Open Street Dance, Acro, Deejaying and Street Dance Camps.

    Emma Tate 

    Academy Outreach & Events Manager


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