New role for Lancaster theatre school teenagers

Lancaster's Turning Point Theatre Arts students who are moving on to national performing arts colleges and academies, from left, Christian Johnstone, Nina Martin, Ella Rogers, Megan Brady and Erin Gardner.
Lancaster's Turning Point Theatre Arts students who are moving on to national performing arts colleges and academies, from left, Christian Johnstone, Nina Martin, Ella Rogers, Megan Brady and Erin Gardner.
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A Lancaster theatre school is waving goodbye to nine graduating students all hoping to make a career in the competitive world of dance and drama.

The Turning Point Theatre Arts teenagers have all secured places at prestigious performing arts, colleges and academies across the country.

Five students will take their performing arts places on a full-time basis.

Nina Martin and Ella Rogers will be studying dance at the Stella Mann College of Performing Arts in Bedford; Megan Brady is joining the acting foundation course at Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre; Christian Johnstone will be moving across the border to study BA Hons Acting at the MGA Academy of Performing Arts in Edinburgh; and Erin Gardner will be studying acting at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

A further four other pupils have been accepted as associates on a part-time basis at vocational theatre schools in Liverpool.

Hattie Carr, Meg Williams, Eve Johnson and Cara Wallbank will be going to Studio Dance 10, while Saskia Rudge-Thompson prepares to head off to RARE Studios next year.

Gail Johnstone, principal of Turning Point which is based at Lancaster Leisure Park and has been running dance, drama and music classes for more than 30 years, said it’s an emotional time as she waves goodbye to her pupils, some of whom joined the school as tiny tots.

“I am obviously extremely proud of our students, but also very sad, as these young people have trained with me since they were toddlers, and here at Turning Point we treat them all as our own family,” she said.

But Gail knows it isn’t the final curtain as many of the Turning Point family regularly return to inspire the next generation of pupils – like Holly Johnstone who reached the final of BBC 1’s Tumble”before going on to an international career with Cirque Du Soleil artistic director, Dragone.

“We have so many former pupils in vocational training or working within the performing arts industry,” said Gail.

“Whilst very busy, it is wonderful that they remain close and make the effort to come back and share their experiences with our current youngsters or even teach a masterclass.

“They know that we are always here to offer help or advice, or just for a good catch-up. Our doors are always open.”