New Mills performing arts academy sees eight students off to top drama schools

A New Mills musical theatre teacher has told of her pride after eight of her students bagged places at top drama schools across the country.

By Ben McVay
Friday, 11th September 2020, 7:00 am

Laura Maguire, who opened The Performance Academy eight years ago, described how all eight students - aged 16-18 had been with her for nearly a decade.

However the talented youngsters have now been offered places this autumn in prestigious institutions such as Chester’s Hammond School, Swindon’s Wilkes Academy, London’s Bird College and Manchester’s Northern Ballet School.

Though thrilled, Laura said ‘I feel like I’ve lost them - they’re like my own kids’.

From left to right: Neave Burns, Mollie Tinkler, Maisie Wild, Caitlin Stones, Tyler Rathbone, Issy Campbell and Amy Heery

Mum-of-two Laura described it as ‘unusual’ for so many children from the same cohort wanting to go on and pursue a career in performing arts.

Laura, who studied at Italia Conti in London, said when she started her own school she set out to give students vital guidance on chasing a career in the tough world of theatre.

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She said: “I felt like when I was auditioning at 18 I didn’t have much support or guidance - so my goal was to give these kids the tools they needed to do it.

From left to right: Amy Johnson, Maisie Wild, Tyler Rathbone and Amy Heery

“It’s all about confidence, knowing what to expect and how to conduct yourself - every college has a particular thing they’re looking for.

“I wish when I was that age people had told me ‘I think you would me most-suited to this school or that school.”

Thirty-year-old Laura - who said two of her students had been given scholarships - described how part of the preparation involved applying for funding.

She said: “For the last eight years I’ve been moulding them to build them up for what they wanted.

From left to right: Neave Burn,s Mollie Tinkler, Tyler Rathbone, Maisie Wild and Amy Heery

“The outcome is that they’ve all got into colleges and some have scholarships.

“Just getting into a college is hard enough - it’s not an easy industry and you have to work really hard.

“But this is great because we’ve only been here eight years and this is my first batch of kids that have all wanted to have careers in performance theatre - but this was my mission from the beginning.”

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