Musical star touched by theatre tribute

Ashleigh Gray returns home to see the new theatre in her name at the new Newbattle High School. Mark McGee Photography
Ashleigh Gray returns home to see the new theatre in her name at the new Newbattle High School. Mark McGee Photography

West End star Ashleigh Gray has spoken of her joy at her former school Newbattle High naming its new state of the art theatre after her.

The 36-year-old’s credits include playing Elphaba in Wicked and Kim in the UK tour of Taboo, the Boy George Musical. Originally from Newtongrange, now living in Surrey, Ashleigh returned to Midlothian last week to see the new theatre in her name at the new Newbattle Community Campus, which was opened last month.

Ashleigh Gray (centre) with pupils. Mark McGee Photography

Ashleigh Gray (centre) with pupils. Mark McGee Photography

She said: “I was approached by Colin Taylor, my old headmaster, about a year ago to ask how I’d feel about the new venue being called the Ashleigh Gray Theatre. Naturally, I was absolutely blown away and accepted the honour immediately. It truly is a wonderful thing. It was completely unexpected but just amazing.

“It’s incredible. I started my career at Newbattle and I was really encouraged by everybody there. So it’s just wonderful that I’m leaving behind this legacy at the place where I started. And I hope other young actors benefit from this. The theatre is already being used by students, local bands and other groups. And the pupils have staged their first production, Grease, a show I also did at school.”

Ashleigh is currently focusing on TV work as well as orchestral concerts and workshops for new musicals.