Charity takes centrestage this fortnight with Dubai's Vox Theatre Company putting on two amateur productions in aid of Foresight.
Eighties musical extravaganza Footloose is being staged this weekend at the Madinat Theatre, while the family favourite The Wizard of Oz opens on June 13.
Vox is a Dubai-based theatre company for talented youngsters between eight and 17, and aims to give its members the opportunity to develop skills within the performing arts, by producing two semi-professional shows per year while raising funds for local charities.
"Dubai children are very talented. When you see either of the productions, you will be amazed by the talent on the stage. The voices, the confidence, the energy and the power these young people possess is a treat to witness," says Vanessa Woodthorpe-Wright, Managing Director of The Talent Station, the umbrella company that runs Vox, when we ask why the show is worth paying for. "Vox's aim is to have their audiences forget they are watching non-professionals. To date our audiences have been amazed and have loved the shows."
A portion of the proceeds will go to Foresight, a Dubai-based organisation helping accelerate a cure for blindness caused by hereditary eye disease, which affects millions of people worldwide, particularly retinitis pigmentosa. In partnership with Tamkeen, Foresight aims to improve the lives of people with visual impairment in the community and raise awareness of the difficulties they face in their lives. "We hope to raise at least Dh30,000 from the two runs to help people to see and raise awareness," says Woodthorpe-Wright, who originally set up Vox Theatre Company on the premise that people can always give back to society.
"It's good for the young people involved to have a reason for performing. For me, when the going gets tough – as it does a few weeks prior to performance – I can get through thinking that I am making a difference on a larger scale."
To date the company has raised more then Dh62,000 for local charities. Proceeds from Vox shows have gone to a range of charities, including the Dubai Centre for Special Needs, Al Noor Centre and Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre.
Footloose is a musical production based on the 1984 screenplay. Set in Chicago, it tells the story of a teenager moving to a new town, where the local council has banned dancing and rock and roll. Ren and his new classmates must find a way around this if they want to participate in the senior prom. The 80s soundtrack includes Footloose, Let's Hear it for the Boy, Hurts So Good and I've Been Waiting For A Girl Like You.
"The show has clear elements of comedy, but it brings to the stage certain themes that are relevant to this day, such as the nature of teenage angst in a small community" says Chiara Dodd, the latest professional international director to work with The Talent Station.
The Wizard of Oz, meanwhile, is the classic children's tale of Dorothy, who is caught up in a tornado and transported from her home in Kansas into a weird and wonderful adventure into the Land of Oz. Along the way she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch. The show also features Dubai 92's Chris Fisher in a special appearance.
Woodthorpe-Wright, a trained performer, actor and director is joined by Chiara Dodd, a musical director and singer from the UK and Neekoe Bolacha a choreographer and dancer from Germany. The team has gained experience in the West End.
Footloose. Madinat Theatre. Tickets: Dh85. Call: 04 366 6546