A talented young performer from Larbert has realised a lifelong dream by sharing the stage with one of musical theatre’s biggest stars.
Caitlin Forret (19) provided backing vocals for West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis during her 20th anniversary concert at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.
Kerry has performed key roles in shows including Wicked, We Will Rock You, My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon, Oliver! and Les Miserables.
Caitlin applied for a place at Edinburgh’s The MGA Academy of Performing Arts two years ago, and is currently training for a BA (hons) degree in Musical Theatre.
She wanted to stay in Scotland while studying at a level equivalent to prestigious London performing arts colleges
Caitlin said: “I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a professional performer when I was 12 as I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
“I really enjoyed auditioning for a place at The MGA Academy as I got to meet lots of the students and take part in two dance workshops.
“I sang a solo rendition of a song from Sister Act as I love that musical. When I received my acceptance letter, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to start my training”.
However more recently she was bowled over to find she was going to be working with Kerry Ellis, in a show that was her only Scottish tour date.
Caitlin said: “Getting to share the stage with Kerry was an incredible experience.
“I actually went to London to see her perform in Wicked when it first came out, so singing with her was quite surreal.
“We provided backing vocals for three numbers and, after the show, she took some time to talk to us about how she got to where she is today - which was really inspiring.”
Kerry said: “Performing my 20th anniversary show in Edinburgh was great, as I love performing there and am always welcomed with such warmth.
“I was honoured to have had students from The MGA Academy join me onstage as I have always been a huge supporter of the work they do.
“I was impressed with how professional all the students were and loved how much fun they brought to the show.”
The MGA Academy last year became the first full-time professional training academy in Scotland to be awarded accreditation by CDMT, the UK’s quality assurance and membership body for the professional dance, drama and musical theatre industries.
Drew Gowland, co-founder and managing director of The MGA Academy, said: “For more than a decade, we have been providing students like Caitlin with exceptional training on par with London’s leading dance and drama schools.
“We are thrilled that our students will now also receive academic recognition from Bath Spa University when they graduate.
“Our training has allowed our graduates to build successful international careers on stage and screen and now they will also leave with a degree, enabling them to pursue professional teaching work and postgraduate-level study.
“We are currently holding auditions for courses and would welcome applications from people with similar aspirations to Caitlin.”
Recent graduates of The MGA Academy include Disney film star Thomas Doherty (The Lodge, Descendents 2), West End stars Fergal McGoff (Matilda, Mamma Mia and The Bodyguard) and Rhiannon Chesterman (Mrs Henderson Presents and Grease), and Rebecca Stenhouse, who recently played Sandy in Grease aboard Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship.
There’s more information on how to apply for a place at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts at www.themgaacademy.com/apply