Mother’s last request to help bring dreams true at King’s Lynn dance school

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The principal of a Lynn dance school is putting talent first with a new set of scholarships on offer for those who dream of training in musical theatre, dance or acting.

Helen Weekley is offering the scholarships through local arts charity, Christines Imaginarium Wish Foundation, which Helen set up in memory of her mother, Christine.

Christine died of cancer in March 2013 leaving behind her final wishes, which included setting up the scholarships, and Christine’s Wish Scholarship is set to start this September.

Helen said: “This is a life-changing opportunity for performers to train professionally under the Academy, preparing students for the UK’s top stage schools, universities and employment as a performer, teacher, practitioner or even an arts therapist.

“This level of training is worth over £12,000 per student for the two-year course.”

It is aimed at those who long to study performing arts but are looking to break away from college or sixth form while remaining in a fully accredited stage school.

Youngsters aged 16-19 will have the opportunity to apply for the chance to study full-time at Backstage Academy of Performing Arts, joining a series of BTEC Level 3 courses in performing arts.

These qualifications are up to the equivalent of three A-levels and are available by application only for the youngsters of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

With 100 per cent success rates of students graduating at full distinction, the Backstage Academy is one of the best training centres in the UK, working on projects locally and around the UK.

Students have the opportunity to learn from the top professionals in the industry including collaborations with Johnny Autin from Autin Dance Theatre, IDMC Gospel Choir, 2Faced Dance Company and ZooNation Dance Company. Specialist workshops and master classes are held, regularly linking in with each project, giving the students experience working with various artists in the industry.

Second year student Gintare Auglyte said: “Training at the Backstage Academy has given me an amazing opportunity in learning new skills that has prepared me for the performing arts world. It has changed my life. I started at the Academy having never danced before and now, two years later, I am an accomplished dancer as well as singer and actress. It’s all because I was lucky enough to have passionate and talented teachers to teach me what I now know. Backstage is always a fun place to train and work and I am grateful that I was lucky enough to train here.”

London College of Music, A-level psychology and teacher training qualifications are also available as additional subjects.

Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to perform in two charitable major productions and the Educational UK tour takes students on the road to perform at festivals and other establishments including Sneaton Castle, Whitby. Other projects include filming, street theatre, dance and community arts, musical theatre, performance workshops and a professional photoshoot for every project, leaving students with an individual portfolio of work at graduation.

Anyone interested in applying for Christine’s Wish Scholarship can contact the Academy through their website –