December 6, 2021

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The travel folks

Youngsters capture kindness to grounded passengers in 9/11 drama

2 min read

EXCITED singers and dancers have made their debut in the West End.

Students from Stagecoach Performing Arts in Wilmslow performed a medley from a new show called Come From Away at The Shaftesbury Theatre.

The musical captures the true story of how 7,000 airline passengers from all over the world were grounded in Canada in the wake of 9/11.

The drama shows how the local Newfoundland community took them to their hearts and provided clothes, food and shelter.

Students from Stagecoach Wilmslow performing in the West End

Many were scared but islanders welcomed them with open arms.

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Emma Otway, principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts Wilmslow, said: “The musical shows how people came together out of such an awful tragedy and the way it brought out the best in people.

“There was great community spirit.”

Ten youngsters aged eight to 17 joined performers from all over the country for the show.

“They were so excited to be part of it,” said mum-of-two Emma, 32, who has led the drama school for six years.

“It gave them so much confidence and it was nice for them to see what other students are doing.”

Helena McLaughlin, 19, Jack Sheran, 10 and Thomas Ryan, 12, performing a medley from Come From Away in the West End

Helena McLaughlin, 19, Jack Sheran, 10 and Thomas Ryan, 12, performing a medley from Come From Away in the West End

The school, which has 200 students, gives youngsters the chance to learn new skills and discover hidden talents.

“It’s such a brilliant way to make friends and build up their confidence,” said Emma. “They can express themselves and find out who they are.”

Most youngsters join the classes to pursue a hobby whilst others hope to make a career on stage.

Some students have already gained theatrical work.

Thomas Ryan, 12, has performed with a professional cast in Dr Doolittle.

Throughout lockdowns classes were held on Zoom.

Students from Stagecoach Wilmslow performing in the West End

Students from Stagecoach Wilmslow performing in the West End

“It is all about building up confidence now after such a turbulent 18 months,” said Emma.

“We don’t allow phones so students can become totally immersed in lessons.

“Whilst they are performing they can forget all about school, exams or any anxieties they may have.

“Doing something they love makes them feel really good.”

A lot of the students have been attending classes for many years.

“They look after each other,” said Emma. “The older ones are really supportive of the younger ones.”

For more details visit stagecoach.co.uk/wilmslow

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