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billyelliotA schoolgirl from Gad’s Hill School, Higham has got her first taste of stardom after landing a role in a hit an internationally award-winning West End musical.

Thirteen year-old Zara Gilhooly started performing in smash-hit Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre this month as a ballet girl, alongside the central character of Billy in Mrs Wilkinson’s ballet class. Mrs Wilkinson’s ballet girls feature throughout the show as the children’s ensemble, accompanying Billy on his dancing journey.

Zara, from Meopham, said she was “absolutely loving every minute” of the experience.

The talent dancer has been performing from the age of three, joining her current dance school, the Robyn Academy, Gravensend at the age of 10, winning a number of competitions including the prestigious ‘Most Promising Dancer’ trophy at the Beckenham amateur dance festival.

“It was so nerve-wracking waiting to hear if I had got the part,” Zara said.

“I really love dancing and performing and this is just such a good opportunity – I’ve never before performed in the West End and I’d love to make it my career when I leave school.”

When asked what her school friends thought of Zara’s star turn she said: “They think it’s cool and I hope a lot come to see me in it.”

Zara’s Headmaster, Mr David Craggs said: “If Zara doesn’t land a performing arts career, I would be very surprised. It is obvious that Zara has talent. We’re all really proud of her for winning the part in a top London musical. The future looks very bright for Zara.”

Based on the Oscar nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds. Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family.

Multi award-winning Billy Elliot the Musical had its world premiere at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 31 March 2005 and has now been seen by over 9.5 million people worldwide.

Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.

LISTINGS INFORMATION BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL

Booking until: Currently booking until 16 May 2015
Theatre: Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5EA
Box Office: 0844 248 5000
Tickets: £20.70 – £68.70 (to include a £1.20 theatre restoration levy)
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Website: www.billyelliotthemusical.com

Leading children’s charity Action for Children is appealing to runners in Kent to put their best foot forwards and take part in the Bupa London 10,000 race on 27 May 2013. More

The next meeting of the Rochester and Chatham Dickens Fellowship (R&CDF) is on Thursday the 17th of January 7.15 for a 7.30 start. The meeting is in the Education Room of Dickens World in Chatham includes a talk by author, walk guide and historian Mr Ian Porter. Non Members are welcome for a small fee. For details of the R&CDF or for non-members to attend contact the Hon. Secretary Mr Steve Martin on 01474 834164. More

“Jack the Ripper – The Definitive Story”
The next meeting of the Rochester and Chatham Dickens Fellowship is on Thursday the 21st of June 7.15 for a 7.30 start. The meeting is in the Education Room of Dickens World in Chatham includes a talk by Mr Jeff Leahy. Non Members are welcome for a small fee. For details of the R&CDF or non members to attend contact the Joint Hon. Secretary Mr Steve Martin 01474 834164.

“Jack the Ripper – The Definitive Story”
R&CDF Branch Meeting 21st June

The R&CDF are proud to announce a talk by Jeff Leahy the Director and Producer on Jack the Ripper – The Definitive Story. The first documentary ever written and produced by “Ripperologists”. Jeff intends to talk about the making of the documentary and illustrate it with extracts from the film. The DVD of the documentary is imminent. No promises, but if available in time, copies will be on sale during the meeting. Some of the filming of the documentary took place in Chatham Dockyard and Members of the R&CDF took part as extras.

With the London 2012 Olympic Games fast approaching, Medway Council Trading Standards Team is advising residents and business to be careful they are not ripped off.

The Team is asking consumers to be very wary of any unsolicited emails or telephone calls offering London 2012 Olympic tickets and they can check whether a business is an Authorised Ticket Reseller on the 2012 website: More

The National Trust in London and the South East is inspiring people to forget the doom and gloom for a day and instead recall memories of their happy places, discover the variety of National Trust places to visit in the region, and take home new happy place memories. 

As part of English Tourism Week the charity locally has launched a spring marketing campaign for the region. The promotion will include radio advertising, Facebook and Twitter initiatives, online advertising and eye-catching billboards at six key locations. More

Please find below a statement from Cllr Alan Jarrett, the Deputy Leader of Medway Council, following comments in today’s London Evening Standard (Wednesday, 19 October) on proposals for an airport on the Hoo Peninsula. More

Creative quilters in Medway have been stitching and sewing in a bid to help produce 14,000 quilts for athletes competing in the London 2012 Games.

The Quilts for London day was held at Rochester Community Hub last month (September) and organised by Medway Adult and Community Learning Service (MACLS) in partnership with Rochester Sewing School and Medway Libraries.

New and experienced quilters were encouraged to get involved and 15 quilted flags were produced on the day. The quilts will now be sent off to the organising body.

MACLS runs a number of creative courses and in 2012 these will include… glass art, jewellery design, sewing, knitting and pottery.

For more information on future courses or to find out more about Rochester Sewing School please contact MACLS on phone 01634 338400 or email enquiries@medway.gov.uk

Quilts for London is a Community Project – part of The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. For more information about Quilts for London and how to get involved visit: www.quilts4london.org.uk .

If you are, then EllenorLions Hospices are asking for any runners who have been lucky enough to qualify for a place in this year’s British 10K to run for them. More

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