Shetland Children Taste The West End

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland children from the ages of 4 to 12 will taste London's theatreland when a regular performer on the London stage runs performing arts classes in Lerwick.

Francesca Leyland, originally from Shetland, will present the "West End to Shetland" classes in Mareel, Shetland's new arts centre, at the beginning of April. The children will have the chance to dance, sing and act like real West End performers, with lots of well know musical theatre songs.

For Francesca, it's a welcome break with friends and family in Shetland, for she grew up in Lerwick. As a student, she was a finalist in the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Young Performer of The Year. She went on to perform in many shows in London and south-east England, including 'Les Miserables' in the West End and at the O2, and she has also appeared as a soloist in Norway. You can see her in this video, performing in a charity show staged by the cast of Les Miserables.

Francesca has been teaching young children across London for over 6 years now, achieving high success rates at the Stagecoach theatre schools, and has taught for Pineapple Dance Studios.

Performing arts classes for children have long been popular in Shetland. For around thirty years, there have been regular visits by Adam Darius, a New York-based mime and dance artist, and choreographer and dancer Kasimir Kolesnik. Hundreds of Shetland children have benefited from their teaching.