Two talented young performers from Midlothian recently sampled a taste of the big time after being invited to perform on stage with Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole.
Adam Robb (11) from Penicuik, and Moira Montoya (14)from Pathhead, appeared in Brendan Cole’s Showman last month at the Edinburgh Playhouse, among a select group of performers from the MGA Academy of Performing Arts’ junior school.
Adam was thrilled to have been selected. He said: “I was pretty buzzing to find out I had been chosen as I’m a big fan of Brendan. The atmosphere on the day was incredible and it was amazing to be able to perform with a proper orchestra.”
Moira, who is a pupil at Dalkeith High School, was equally excited, although a little nervous about performing. She said: “Performing at the Playhouse was scary.
“It’s Brendan Cole and the biggest theatre in the UK! I’d performed at the Lyceum with Lyceum Youth Theatre and the Usher Hall twice with the MGA Academy’s Fierce theatre group, but this was even bigger.”
Adam, who has previously worked with The Pauline Quirk Academy and Captivate Theatre, was less nervous. Having been performing since he was just seven years old, he has trained himself to overcome any anxieties.
He said: “I don’t really get nervous anymore. I just love it so much when I’m on stage. It’s an amazing feeling. I joined Stage Academies with the MGA Academy because I wanted more of a challenge and it’s been really fun so far.”
The musical spectacular at Edinburgh Playhouse saw youngsters take to the stage to perform show-stopping songs from popular musicals, including The Greatest Showman and La La Land.
Performing at such a high-profile production meant intense preparation for the show. Moira said: “In the run-up to the show, we had three songs to learn and memorise.
“We then had to learn the choreography. On the day we had a technical rehearsal at the Playhouse just a few hours before the show and then it was straight into the performance.”
Moira is used to putting in the hard work. She began training aged five with singing lessons by Sophie Bancroft in Pathhead before auditioning for the MGA Academy’s junior school. She said: “The school teaches you how to perform and really points you in the direction of some great performing opportunities.”
Going forward, Moira hopes to go on to audition for The MGA Academy to study on the full-time BA (Hons) Musical Theatre course.
Similarly, Adam has his sights set firmly on professional acting.
Having already lined up some auditions, he is hoping to one day go into TV and film.
Louise Ferrier, principal of The MGA Academy’s school of part-time studies, said: “This was an incredible opportunity for our students. They are all in awe of Brendan Cole as they recognised him from Strictly. They were all very excited and we were thrilled to have the chance to perform with renowned professionals in the largest theatre in the UK.
“We love offering our junior school students regular opportunities like this, as they respond so well, are an absolute credit to themselves, and enjoy it so much. Experiences such as this one allow them to learn from the best in the business and will prepare them well for further stage training and performances.”
To apply for a place at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts, visit www.themgaacademy.com/apply