Having arrived in the UAE with her family back in 1982, Emily has made the emirates her home ever since. With a passion for the dramatic arts, she set up Kids Theatre Works! in 2006, with the aim of nurturing the potential of Dubai’s young talents.
Initially operating out of the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (Ductac), the company has grown into one of Dubai’s most prestigious drama and performing arts programmes, with locations now in Sharjah, Mirdif, Motor City and Marina Mall. We caught up with Emily and her ten-year-old daughter Skye at their villa near Jumeira beach.
What’s great about raising a child in Dubai?
Obviously the climate allows us to be outside a lot of the time, which is ideal. We live down by the beach, so it’s wonderful to be able to go there when we wantand ride our bikes around the neighbourhood. You can also travel so easily from here in the UAE – it’s such a great gateway to the rest of the world, and we both love to travel.
What’s it been like meeting other families in your neighbourhood?
We live in a very local Emirati neighbourhood. Our landlady and her children live nearby, they are Emirati and Moroccan, and they have been really making an effort to create a relationship with us – they’re so lovely.
What are your favourite mum-and-daughter things to do?
We enjoy spending time together, Skye is really good company. Every day, I think to myself ‘I love age 10, I love 10, I love 10!’ A lot of the things we do tend to be fairly creative, such as painting and dancing, and as I mentioned, we love travelling and going to the beach. Skye and I are both big film buffs, too, so we love watching movies, whether it’s at home or at the cinema.
How have you put your own stamp on the villa?
We have a happy home. People say they really like the energy in the space, and generally I think it’s because Skye especially is a cheerful, friendly girl. We love art and photography, and are currently in the process of using some of the pictures we’ve created to make our own ‘happy wall’. I have a lot of love for a small island off the coast of Kenya, and you’ll see this influence through the rest of the house. Outside we have a seating area that’s very reminiscent of the place, and a lot of the art on our walls comes from there – it was created by local fisherman who painted their old sails.
We always try to catch any performances that come through Dubai – especially ballet, which Skye loves. The best show we’ve seen was at Ductac earlier in the year. It was called The Animals and Children Took to the Streets – it was an incredible piece of theatre, and I’d highly recommend it if it comes back to Dubai.
Aside from her love of theatre and drama, Skye really enjoys playing netball. She also absolutely loves going to Sharmila’s street dance classes (www.sharmiladance.com). At home, we like doing art or dancing – we try to keep it spontaneous, such as painting with our non-dominant hands, just to see what happens!
Place to eat out
Skye is a big fan of Lebanese food, so she’ll often tell me that she wants to go to the Automatic Café (Jumeira Beach Road, 04 349 4888). My family has been going there for something like 20 or so years – we absolutely love it there, and the food always tastes great.