DPA at the Dubai Opera
DPA at the Dubai Opera Image Credit: Supplied

This is personal. For the singer Lisa Scott-Lee, who made her debut in the 90s with UK pop group Steps and turned principal of Dubai Performing Arts (DPA), it’s a chance to see her vision made real. This weekend, her students are headed to the stage to jive to some of the most infectious tunes from theatre. About 200 children – the youngest is four or five years old – will take on the dance-filled ‘Footloose The Musical’ and the next day they’ll put up a review of tracks, from Mary Poppins to A Star is Born. “To see my students whom I’m training on stage and to see them performing – I get an overwhelming sense of pride. It’s been amazing to pass on my knowledge, my expertise in this industry for over 20 years now,” she says in an interview with Gulf News ahead of the shows.

Members of this group have auditioned for and won parts with the West End-led Evita that travelled to Dubai Opera last year. Oh, and the gent choreographing the Keven Bacon-made-famous musical Footloose, Johnny Shentall-Lee, was part of the original UK production. So the training wheels have been quite sturdy. But besides good foundation-builders for a worthy watch, insists Scott-Lee, the show will be good because of all the effort the kids put into it. “Children work incredibly hard, we have long rehearsal periods, long days. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I think the most exciting thing is that we can teach the children how to sing and dance in the studio, but it’s not until they get onto stage that they actually learn their craft and they develop their performing skills. It’s that sense of achievement that they’ve worked hard all year for something [that you’ll see come Showtime].”

On day one of the annual showcase, there’s Footloose, where you can expect tracks including Let’s Hear It for the Boys and Holding Out For A Hero.

The next night, dubbed Where Stars Are Born, you can expect to sing along to the much-loved hits such as Here I Go Again On my Own, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, I Have A Dream and Mamma Mia!

Scott-Lee ‘s advice for those going on stage is a veteran’s. “Have a couple of minutes to yourself to get yourself into the right headspace, think what you need to remember on stage, how you want to perform, have a think about all the choreography and the lyrics... and also just enjoy it,” she says, laughing.

Don’t miss it!

Tickets Footloose The Musical on June 28 and Where Stars Are Born on June 29 at the Dubai Opera are Dh175 each.