Saxtead: Young star lands place at prestigious Laine Theatre Arts

THE bright lights of the West End are edging closer for one Suffolk teenager.

Maddie Coelho, 16, a pupil at Saxtead School of Dance, near Framlingham, has gained a prestigious three year scholarship at Laine Theatre Arts college in Epsom, Surrey.

The teenager applied alongside 800 candidates from all over the world and was offered an unconditional place two days after her audition.

Maddie, a former Thomas Mills High School pupil, was one of just 80 lucky youngsters to gain a spot at the prestigious dance school.

“It has been my dream to go to Laine,” she said. “I am over the moon – many famous West End stars inspired me and now I’m going to train where they’ve trained.”

Maddie, who started dancing when she was seven years old, is now set to study the three year Diploma in Musical Theatre which she hopes will prepare her for a career in the West End. “I can’t wait,” she said.

Her Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) is funded by the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) and awarded to students who display the most potential to succeed in the profession.

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The three year scholarship will now enable Maddie to undertake training in singing, dancing and acting. She is one of 35 who have been awarded scholarships this year.

“Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” she explained.

Maddie’s proud mother, Pam, said: “It is really beginning to dawn on us how well she has done. It is wonderful for her – she is very focused.”

Maddie will now join the ranks of students starting in September at the college, whose alumni include Haughley-born Kerry Ellis from BBC’s The Voice, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and winners of the last two series of the BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance - Charlie Bruce and Matt Flint.

Maddie has performed four times with the English Youth Ballet and attended the Royal Ballet associates classes for three years.

N Young dancers from Suffolk’s Dance East will perform in the world premiere of Hot House at the Royal Opera House directed by Gareth Malone on Sunday, July 22.

They will be joined by troupes from Manchester, London and the Royal Opera House’s Youth Opera Company.

The play is based upon the price riots of the Royal Opera House in 1809.

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