Heading for the bright lights in their ambitious bid for stardom are a group of talented friends.
Two years ago, the five were featured in The Falkirk Herald after beating off competition from dozens of youngsters to win coveted places on a musical theatre course at The Dance School of Scotland.
Part of Knightswood Secondary School, Glasgow, it provides hand-picked pupils with specialised training. The group studied traditional scholastic subjects alongside singing, dance, drama and performance.
Before the summer break they all graduated with distinction in the ATCL Performer’s Diploma in Musical Theatre Performance.
Now they are all taking the next step in their bid for a career on the professional stage. For months, they planned where would be the best place to continue their studies before auditioning for the sought-after spots.
The quintet – Alex Wheeler, Anthea Bundy, Marc Storrie, Mari McGinlay and Lewis Kidd – were all delighted to learn they had been successful to gain places at some of the London’s most prestigious dance and theatre schools.
Next month the 19-year-olds head for the capital where they will spend the next three years immersing themselves in their chosen courses at four top arts educational establishments.
Alex of Wallacestone and Lewis of Falkirk will be studying for BA(Hons) degree in musical theatre at Arts Educational in Chiswick, while Marc from Carronshore will be studing for a BA(Hons) in professional dance and musical theatre at the Urdang Academy in Islington.
Award-winning Highland dancer Anthea will be leaving Grangemouth to head to the Doreen Bird College in Sidcup where she will study for a BA(Hons) in dance and musical theatre and Mari will head from Falkirk to Guildford School of Acting for her degree course in musical theatre.
Excited but slightly nervous about making the transition from Knightswood to their chosen further colleges, the group said although they are scattered across the London area, they intend to meet up to discuss courses and experiences on a regular basis.
As well as having an opportunity to study and follow in the footsteps of some of the country’s established actors, singers and dancers, in their third year they will also be hoping to attract interest from theatrical agents who can help them find work on graduation.
Although they realise it is a precarious profession, they all hope to be living their dreams and ending up in the spotlight.
Anthea said: “I’d like to work on cruise ships after graduating because I want to see the world before eventually settling down. However, my dream job would the role of Velma Kelly in ‘Chicago’ and hopefully I manage to achieve that.”
For Mari her dream role would be Mary Poppins in the West End. “But I also love straight acting and would love to work in the theatre or in films or TV,” she said.
Marc has ambitions as a dancer and would particularly like to be in a production with choreography in the style of Bob Fosse. “I’m more confident when I’m dancing and love that type of Broadway jazz choreography,” he said.
While Lewis said he would be happy in a variety of different roles, he admits that his dream job would be “in the West End and I’d love to be in ‘Singing in the Rain’”.
However, Alex differs from his contemporaries and his ambitions lie in a different area. He explained: “I’d like to be in a new production, perhaps a musical, something that has never been performed before where I could make a role my own.”
With their success to date in achieving their ambitions, it shouldn’t be too long before Falkirk’s ‘Famous Five’ are enjoying their very own adventures on stage or film.