West End stars to take centre stage in Preston

Dancer and choreographer Becki Heaton has set up 'My Stage Company' at Preston's College
Dancer and choreographer Becki Heaton has set up 'My Stage Company' at Preston's College
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West End and film stars are coming to Preston for a series of special theatre workshops.

Mary Poppins, Fame, Starlight Express, and Miss Saigon are just some of the award-winning musicals which guest teachers at a town’s new master class series have starred in.

Star of Miss Saigon in the West End, Gavin Tsang, will be a guest teacher at 'My Stage Company' at Preston's College

Star of Miss Saigon in the West End, Gavin Tsang, will be a guest teacher at 'My Stage Company' at Preston's College

The idea, thought to be unique outside of London, is the brainchild of 22-year-old dancer and choreographer Becki Heaton, from Blackpool.

Becki, who trained at Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre, set up ‘My Stage Company’ dance school at Preston’s College last month.

Now, as well as her regular weekly classes in dance and musical theatre, she’s bringing something a bit different to town.

“We’re going to be holding workshops and master classes throughout the year with industry professionals,” she explained.

“Through ‘My Stage Company’ I am also aiming to be able to develop schemes for disadvantaged children, and children with disabilities to be introduced to performing arts.”

Becki Heaton

“Our fantastic team of guest teachers will be coming in from shows all over the world and are renowned specialists in their field.

“They have experience ranging from West End shows and The Royal Ballet to performing on TV and cruise liners.

“These classes are unique outside the London area.”

First to visit is Andrew Chadwick on Tuesday, February 23, who has just finished a stint doing Mary Poppins, and has also worked on Fame, Starlight Express, Summer Holiday, and most recently has featured dancing as Lumiere in the new Disney movie remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Becki said: “Andrew is coming to teach the official choreography from Mary Poppins and give the children an insight into what it’s like to be in a West End show.

“In April we’ll welcome Gavin Tsang, who will finish Miss Saigon in March and is going to choreograph on board cruise liners from June.

“He has starred in Miss Saigon, Fame and The King and I, and has danced on cruise ships all over the world. He was also a finalist on BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance.”

She is also planning to run a Cats workshop in June and a Starlight Express session in the winter. Becki, who is busy performing full-time in a cabaret show in Blackpool alongside running ‘My Stage Company’ and teaching at other dances schools across the North West, hopes to give children the same opportunities she had when she was growing up.

“I was given the chance to perform in many shows throughout my childhood and I would love nothing more than to pass on what I have learnt and give children the chances I got,” she said. “I have also been involved with choreographing and fund-raising at charity events for Rock FM’s Cash for Kids for the past three years, and through ‘My Stage Company’ I am also aiming to be able to develop schemes for disadvantaged children, and children with disabilities to be introduced to performing arts.

“The children Cash for Kids work with are often excluded from such activities and I am keen to develop this idea and enable inclusion for these children.”

To find out more, visit www.mystagecompany.com.