AN Erskine teenager who has won a place at the prestigious performing arts school attended by Catherine Zeta Jones sang her heart out last week in an online fundraising concert.

Ellie McConnachie, 18, planned a series of events to help fund her place at ArtsEd musical theatre college, in London, but had to have a rethink following the coronavirus outbreak.

“I had lots of fundraising ideas but, with lockdown restrictions in place, I couldn’t do any of them,” said Ellie, who lives with her parents Angela and Arthur and 12-year-old sister Emma.

“I came up with the idea for the online session instead. I know people are struggling just now, and there are many people much worse off than me, so

I really am grateful to everyone who is helping me.

“ArtsEd is where I’ve wanted to go for a long time. When I walked into the audition, I felt like I was in the right place.”

Arts Educational Schools has Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber as its president and has been training young people for careers in the performing arts for more than 100 years.

In addition to Zeta-Jones, who has appeared in a string of well-known movies, famous alumni include Bond star Jane Seymour, actor Martin Clunes and singer Will Young.

Singing and performing have been Ellie’s dream since she was a young child.

“I started dancing at the age of three and, for years, all I ever wanted to be was a dancer,” she said. “Then I picked up a guitar and, suddenly, that changed. When I started singing lessons, at Angela McCallum School of Music, I realised I wanted it to be more than just a hobby.”

For the last four years, Ellie has been a pupil at the Dance School of Scotland, in Knightswood. She plans to move to London once life gets back to normal, post Covid-19.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “Everything is a bit confusing at the moment but I hope to be able to start at ArtsEd as planned in September. My long-term plan is to do everything. I’d love to do musical theatre, film and TV, pop and I want to travel.”

Ellie’s set on Saturday night featured a mixture of musical theatre classics, pop songs and her own compositions.

Boosted by donations, her fundraising total now stands at around £1,800.

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