By Sophia Ricco
His Highness Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, known as the “Green Sheikh,” traveled to St. Anthony’s to watch family friend Caitlin Beirne perform as Wednesday Addams in the production. Four years prior, the Sheikh visited St. Anthony’s and toured the school with Beirne’s brother, with whom he formed a friendship.
“Since the Green Sheikh is all about youth empowerment, my older brother stayed in contact with him,” Beirne said.
A member of the Ajman royal family, Nuaimi carries a reputation as an environmental activist and youth catalyzer.
“To inspire, motivate, and mentor young leaders today, who ultimately will become the future leaders of tomorrow,” Nuaimi said. “These same leaders who will go on to make the changes required for a better, more peacefully interdependent and cooperative world.”
When the Beirnes realized the Sheikh would be visiting America at the same time as the production, they extended an invitation that was gladly accepted. The Sheikh not only attended the show, but spoke with the cast, sharing the importance of youthful activism and advocacy.
“The Sheikh told us that it’s very important we stay involved,” Beirne said. “Then our principal, Brother Gary and the Sheikh spoke about environmental concerns and how Dubai is working to solve these problems.”
The Sheikh said he hopes to motivate the youth to take empowering actions and live a meaningful, simple way of life. This is something he teaches, preaches, and practices in his own life.
Although his words were encouraging, his presence had the performers on edge. Louis Voltaggio, who played Gomez Addams, admited he was nervous before taking the stage, but knew the cast would shine with weeks of preparation.
“I thought it was really interesting just getting to talk to him,” Voltaggio said. “He inspired us all to go out there and perform to the best of our ability.”
For Beirne, it was surreal to see the Sheikh sitting between her parents in the audience. Nuaimi was social and outgoing following the musical. He stuck around to meet parents and take pictures with the cast. The Sheikh told Beirne the production was inspiring.
“I think it was really special for us, after we put so much hard work into this show, that someone who is part of a royal family would come see our show,” Beirne said. “I definitely have a great lasting memory of this.”