City student lands on his feet

Christian Johnstone on stage.
Christian Johnstone on stage.
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A young aspiring performer from Lancaster has taken a big step towards his dream career by gaining a place at one of the UK’s leading performing arts academies.

Christian Johnstone, 18, who attends Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy, was one of the first students to land a place on the new BA (Hons) Acting degree course at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts in Edinburgh and will begin full-time training in September to be a professional performer.

Christian impressed staff at The MGA Academy in an intensive audition and was delighted when, days later, he received by post a letter of acceptance that allows him to live in Scotland while studying at a level equivalent to prestigious London performing arts colleges.

“I was so shocked and so pleased when I got my acceptance letter,” said Christian. “I was asleep and my Dad knocked on my bedroom door and threw the envelope at me. I tore it open and read the first few lines, but it only really hit me afterwards: it’s a really competitive course and they’ve chosen me to come on it!

“My absolute goal is to appear in a successful film or television series, but I would also like to be a lead on stage, that would be incredible. I feel as though my first two years at MGA will help me develop as an actor and that direct singing training will give me more confidence. In the third year, I’ll look to get out into the industry and gain some work along my studies.”

Christian’s mother Gail Marie Johnstone is Principal of Turning Point Theatre Arts in Lancaster, of which Christian is a member.

He is now preparing to move to Edinburgh in summer to begin studying at The MGA Academy, which 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: “We’re delighted to welcome Christian onto our inaugural BA (Hons) Acting degree course. “

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).