Student Success

Destinations – 2017

After hugely competitive auditions, danSing performers Alice Wright, Josh Belward, Emily Alderson, Sorrel Brown and Sam Daltry have successfully gained places at prestigious colleges and performing arts schools from September 2017. danSing senior, Josh Belward has been offered a place at Bird College. LCM diploma holder, Alice Wright, is to study musical theatre at Mountview in London. Emily Alderson will move onto the degree course at Birmingham School of Acting after successfully completing a foundation course at the same conservatoire. Sam Daltry is to begin training at Trinity College of Music and Sorrel Brown will begin a Masters degree course in musical theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Other individual pupils who have attained places at renowned colleges are Georgia Johnstone who is set to study at Urdang and Anna Cookson who will join Alice Wright at Mountview. These are wonderful achievements and we wish everyone well in their future training!

National Youth Music Theatre – 2017 Season


danSing alumni, Alice Wright, Kitty Watson and Michael McGeough, have been cast in the National Youth Music Theatre 2017 season of musicals. They successfully auditioned with Dominique McIntyre and Anna Cookson, also pupils of danSing Director, Helen Leaf. Dominique landed a leading role in Honk! which is to be performed at the International Youth Arts Festival. Kitty and Michael will join the cast of Sondheim’s Sunday In The Park With George at The Other Palace Theatre in London and Anna and Alice will perform in a workshop production of the brand new musical, A Little Princess. What a truly invaluable experience for these aspiring performers!

All Distinctions! – LCM Exams 2017

2017 has been a wonderful year for the London College of Music musical theatre exam results with distinctions throughout! With staging by danSing Director, Jane Waring, danSing senior, Blossom Sabel, achieved Grade 5 with 96% at the Spring session and then a few months later took Grade 6 and attained 89% with a “well-paced, expressive performance” – a remarkable achievement! Megan Mead was awarded 88% for Grade 6 and the examiner commented that she had empathy for the lyrics and her performance was “expressively phrased.” Amelia Freestone also achieved 88% for Grade 4 and was complimented for her good use of facial expression, dramatic skills and well-supported tone. danSing alumna Kitty Watson achieved 92% for Grade 8 and her performance was described as “extremely emotive.” Tilly Ducker was awarded 93% for her imaginative Grade 6 performance that showed a “depth of knowledge beyond the grade.” danSing at Christmas musical theatre artist, Coraleigh Hobson, was awarded her dipLCM with a wonderful 89%. The examiner said that her performance was polished and musically shaped with excellent characterisation. There were distinctions too for other pupils of Musical Director, Helen Leaf., Alicia Drewell (Grade 6, 92%), Amelia Cook (Grade 8, 97%), Scarlett Watson (Grade 5, 92%), Finton Flynn (Grade 6, 96%), Jo Stephenson (Grade 8, 89%) and Niamh Boyle (Grade 7, 85%). A wonderful year indeed!

An Evening with Merrill Osmond – Feb 2017


danSing Musical director, Helen Leaf, assembled a group of danSing at Christmas musical theatre artists to perform at a concert with Osmond legend, Merrill Osmond, at St. Angelo’s in Wetherby. Coraleigh Hobson, Bethany Hare, Maia Broughton and Anna Cookson sang a variety musical theatre and pop favourites, whilst Sam Daltry and Will Jackson entertained a captive audience with well-known duets. The talented performers finished with a rousing harmony ensemble from Les Misérables.

College Success – 2016

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danSing seniors Sally Hall, Michael McGeough, Amelia Banerjee, Hannah Mason, Rosie Winter, Emily Alderson and Tilly Ducker have successfully gained places to study at prestigious colleges, universities and performing arts schools from September 2016. ALCM holder, Sally Hall has been offered a place at London’s Italia Conti, Michael is to study musical theatre at Trinity Laban, Amelia Banerjee will go to Lancaster University to study theatre studies, Hannah Mason is going to the American Musical Theatre Academy, Rosie Winter will join former danSinger, Juliette Dumouchel, at Bird College and Tilly Ducker is to continue her training at Tring. Individual pupils have also attained places at renowned colleges – Anna Wicks is set to study at the London Studio Centre and Milly Downing will go to Arden. These are splendid achievements and we wish all of these aspiring performers every success in their future training.

National Youth Music Theatre – 40th Anniversary Season, 2016

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danSing’s Sally Hall and Alice Wright successfully auditioned with seven other pupils of danSing musical director, Helen Leaf, and all landed roles with the prestigious National Youth Music Theatre for it’s 40th Anniversary season. Sally and Alice will be joined by former danSinger, Kitty Watson, danSing for Shine’s Robyn McIntyre and pupil, Coraleigh Hobson, in the London premiere of Benjamin Till’s award-winning “Brass.” Pupils, Dominiqie McIntyre and Scarlett Watson will join the cast of “The Piper of Hamelin” which will be directed by Jeremy James Taylor OBE. The NYMT does such incredibly work with aspiring musical theatre artists and this will be a fabulous experience for all of these talented performers.

Rent, Grand Opera House, York – August 2016

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danSing’s Rosie Winter and Beth Stevens starred in the York Orchard Theatre production of Rent at the Grand Opera House in York. Beth played Mimi and Rosie was cast as Maureen – both girls gave outstanding performances in Jonathan Larson’s critically acclaimed musical which is loosely based on Puccini’s opera La Boheme.

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All in the 90s! – LCM Exams July 2016

There were super results for all at the London College of Music summer exam session! danSing senior, Megan Mead, was awarded 93% (distinction) for her Grade 3 Classical Singing exam. The examiner remarked that Megan gave a “musically appealing performance with a confident and convincing vocal delivery.” For “Bird’s Lament”, she was given full marks for a performance that was “rhythmically secure, with an excellent sense of musical phrase.” There were also distinctions in the Music Theatre examinations for Alicia Drewell (Grade 5 97%), Olivia Wood (Grade 3 94%) and Jo Stephenson (Grade 6, 92%). danSing co-director, Jane Waring, staged Jo’s “spirited performance” and Olivia’s “very confident performance with an excellent sense of character.”

Anything Goes, Ripon – Mar 2016

imagedanSing senior, Josh Belward, triumphed as the lead, Billy Crocker, in Ripon Grammar School’s production of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” Josh’s performance was described as “truly outstanding” and his acting “superb” throughout. Well done, Josh!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, National Tour – Feb 2016

imageAfter a ten week run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, danSing for Shine’s Lucy Sherman has been cast as Jemima Potts in the UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Over the coming months, Lucy will perform with the likes of Lee Mead and Jason Manford at theatres throughout the UK. Well done, Lucy!

American Musical Theatre Academy Solo Competition – Jan 2016

Alice 3danSing were thrilled at the start of 2016 when senior, Alice Wright, won the American Musical Theatre Academy worldwide competition for solo musical theatre performers! Alice’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” won her the once in a lifteime trip to train at AMTA’s New York studios. Well done, Alice!

College Success – 2015

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danSing seniors Faye Weerasinghe, Elle Kay-Coles and Shivani Parmar have successfully gained places to study performing arts from September 2015. After a rigorous audition process, ALCM holder, Faye has been offered a place at the prestigious, Central School of Speech & Drama. Singer-songwriter, Elle is to study popular music at BIMM London and Shivani will study performing arts at De Montfort University in Leicester. Former danSingers and individual pupils have also attained places at renowned colleges and universities. Megan Gilbert is to study at Cambridge University, Kelly Stocker will take up a place at LCM, Lydia Bradd and Robyn McIntyre will study musical theatre at Urdang, Amara Okereke and Charlotte Coles have gained places at ArtsEd, Olivia Jackson will study at The American Musical Theatre Academy in London, Lizzie Nunn has accepted a place at Bodyworks, Lydia Petch is going on to study at SLP and Elin Gilbert will pursue her academic and creative studies at Rugby School. These are outstanding achievements and we wish each and every one of these aspiring performers every success as they continue their training.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, West Yorkshire Playhouse – December 2015

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Following competitive auditions, “danSing for Shine’s” young musical theatre artist, Lucy Sherman, was chosen to play Jemima alongside Jon Robyns’ Caractacus Potts in the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. With new choreography by award-winning choreographer, Stephen Mear, the musical received five star reviews and Lucy, who is trained by danSing’s Helen Leaf, was described as “confident, talented” and a “headliner of the future.”

Superb LCM Exam Results – 2015

At the Spring Session, danSing senior, Faye Weerasinghe, attained her ALCM diploma in Music Theatre. She performed a programme entitled “Born Wicked” and was commended for strong sentiment in her dramatic delivery of “Loose Ends” from The Witches of Eastwick. Fellow danSing senior, Sally Hall, attained her ALCM at the Winter Session. She convincingly delivered a variety of musical theatre songs and the examiner commented that “Still Hurting” from Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years had a “real sense of varied vocal technique and integrated characterisation.” There were high distinctions for danSingers Emily Alderson (Grade 6 93%), Rosie Winter (Grade 8 93%), Tilly Ducker (Grade 5 93%) and Megan Mead (Grade 5 95%) who delighted the examiner with a well-crafted performance with excellent use of stage space. Fabulous results for danSing pupils – well done to all!

Global Gift Foundation Gala, Four Seasons Hotel, London – November 2015

The Global Gift GaladanSing for Shine soloist, Bethany Hare, shared the stage with Ronan Keating and Anastacia at a celebrity charity gala in London. With live piano accompaniment from danSing’s Musical Director, Helen Leaf, Bethany performed a Nina Simone cover arranged by Helen especially for the event. The gala evening was organised by actress Eva Longoria and raised money for the Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying and Mentoring Programmes. Diana Award holder, Bethany, received a surprise Points of Life Award from the Prime Minister presented on the red carpet by singer, Sinitta.

School Productions – 2015

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danSingers shone as leads in their 2015 school productions. Seniors, Sally Hall (Penny) and Emily Alderson (Velma) starred with former danSinger, Kitty Watson (Tracy) in Hairspray at St. John Fisher’s School. Alice Wright played the lead female role, Lola, in Copacobana at St. Aidan’s Church of England High School.

White Christmas, Harrogate Theatre – October 2015

12036704_10207548134926186_918120129524807153_nTilly Ducker, danSing intermediate, joined the cast of Irving Berlin’s magical “White Christmas”, a St. Andrews Players production at the Harrogate Theatre. Tilly played the part of Susan Waverly with confidence and style and in a review for NODA, Terry Harrison remarked that she brought “her already considerable stage experience to the part of precocious Susan.”

X Factor – ITV 2015

sophie on x factor 2In September 2015, danSingers were glued to their television screens to see “danSing for Shine” guest soloist and former danSinger, Sophie Stott, who appeared on the X Factor, making it through to boot camp! Though Sophie didn’t progress to the live finals, she is now signed to Hot Vox Management as a singer-songwriter. She is currently working with a variety of musicians and producers in London and her single “Locksmith” is available on itunes and Spotify.

NYMT – 2015 Season

Former danSing senior, Leah Weerasinghe, joined the cast of the National Youth Theatre production of “Pendragon” at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds. Leah, who played Sister Agnes, was joined by Frankie Bounds and Rhys Gannon, pupils of danSing’s Helen Leaf, for what the Sunday Times described as an “absolute storm of a show.”

Record Label Signing!

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Following her fabulous performance at “danSing for Shine”, former danSinger, Katie Skinner was signed by record label, Anonymous Records in July 2015. Her success continued when she was invited to perform at Leeds and Reading Festivals on the BBC Introducing Stage! What an amazing year for this talented danSing alumni – huge congratulations Katie!

Exam Results – Super Finale to 2014

wharfedale music hall 2014Sally Hall, danSing senior, attained her dipLCM in Music Theatre with a fabulous 89%! She performed a programme of musical theatre extracts that was inspired by the centenary of the Great War. Sally was awarded full marks for “I Make The Shells” from Benjamin Till’s award-winning “Brass”. The composer himself gave her permission to perform his beautiful, thought-provoking ballad. danSing inter, Tilly Ducker, impressed the examiner with a charming programme which she performed with lots of character and energy. She was awarded an amazing 97%! Former danSing senior, Elin Gilbert, also gained her Music Theatre dipLCM with an excellent 92%, receiving full marks for strong characterisation and excellent music hall style in her opening tribute to Marie Lloyd. Former danSinger, Megan Gilbert attained her ALCM and was the winner of the London College of Music, Cathy Nash Award for Musical Theatre 2014! A huge well done to Megan and to Sally, Tilly and Elin!

School Productions – 2014

1920436_10205181719367276_2900820658901705613_ndanSingers were outstanding leads in their school productions. Amelia Banerjee demonstrated terrific acting skills as Marty in “Grease” at Ashville College. Faye Weerasinghe gave a heartfelt performance as Peron’s Mistress in Evita at St. Aidan’s Sxhool. In the same production, danSing senior, Hannah Mason, shone as part of the ensemble and former dansinger, Lydia Bradd was simply stunning in the title role, demonstrating that she is, indeed, a triple threat.

College Success – 2014

IMG_3001Former danSing senior, Kayleigh Newsome has attained a place to study musical theatre at CPA Studios from September 2014. Kayleigh already holds an Associate Diploma of the London College of Music (ALCM) in Music Theatre and has successfully represented danSing at festivals and charity events. danSing wishes Kayleigh great success as she continues her performing arts training.

NYMT – Brass – The City Varieties, Leeds – August 2014

10411122_10204488221430261_6768789943155219787_nSally Hall starred in the National Youth Music Theatre premiere of “Brass”. The new musical which commemorates the Great War centenary was commissioned by NYMT for their 2014 season. danSing senior, Sally, who played the part of Tots, was selected from hundreds of young performers to join an amazing cast. UKTW News described “Brass” as “an astonishingly complex and large-scale production with a talented cast of 28 . . . . . . . a roller-coaster of high emotions, excellently played.”

The Wedding Singer – The Company – August 2014

1391640_10151991591856779_973051771_nAlice Wright joined the cast of the award-winning The Company at the Lowry in Manchester for their 2014 production of the hit Broadway show “The Wedding Singer.” danSing senior, Alice, successfully auditioned with lots of young hopefuls from all over the country and the production was a resounding success. The Manchester Evening News reported that “the cast for this show is exceptional and it is almost impossible to pick out any favourites because of the high standard throughout”.

Excellent LCM Examination Results July 2014

danSing seniors, Alice Wright and Faye Weerasinghe both attained their dipLCM qualification in Music Theatre performance. Faye has achieved distinctions in all seven music theatre exams from Grade 3 to diploma. Alice has taken 8 music theatre exams from Grade 2 to diploma and 5 classical exams from Grade 2 to 6. She has achieved distinctions at all levels. danSing senior, Sally Hall attained distinction for Grade 8 Music theatre and danSing dep., Kelly Stocker was awarded her dipLCM. Former danSinger, Juliette Dumouchel also achieved a distinction for Grade 8 Music Theatre. Once again super results for danSing pupils!

College Success 2014

CNV00005 (2)Former danSingers, Rebecca Ferrin, Kayleigh Newsome and Hollie-Ann Lowe have successfully gained places at prestigious colleges for September 2014. Following in the footsteps of danSinger, Hannah Rushton, Rebecca is to study at Mountview. Hollie-Ann will join the performing arts course at Urdang and Kayleigh is going to CPA Studios. danSing wishes all three girls well as they continue their musical theatre training in London.

LCM Examinations – Full House! – Spring 2014

There were distinctions all round for danSing seniors at the London College of Music Spring examination session. Sally Hall and Jenny Martin were both awarded 90% for Grade 6 Music Theatre. The examiner commended Sally for her “impressive programme” and said that Jenny “created fine atmosphere in the vocal” and used “well controlled dynamics”. Alice Wright took her Classical Singing Grade 6 and was awarded 87% and danSing dep. Kelly Stocker also achieved a distinction (86%) for Grade 8 Music Theatre. Alice and Kelly are going on to take their Music Theatre Diplomas (dipLCM) in the summer. Fine results – well done to all!

NYMT – 2014 Season

Four out of four danSing seniors are recalled for the National Youth Music Theatre 2014 season of musicals which includes a new production of The Hired Man (Howard Goodall) to be directed by Nikolai Foster, The Ragged Child, and a brand new musical called Brass which has been commissioned for the World War I centenary and is to be performed at the Leeds City Varieties in August. danSingers Alice Wright, Faye Weerasinghe, Sally Hall and Elin Gilbert have all been recalled and will now attend audition workshops in London, February 2014.

danSing excels in LCM examinations – 2013

danSing students achieved amazing exam results at both the Spring and Summer sessions. In April, seniors, Alice Wright and Faye Weerasinghe were both awarded distinctions for grade 8 Music Theatre with the same mark – a fabulous 97%! The examined praised Alice for her “well-developed acting and vocal skills” and he said of Faye, “your vocals, acting skills and choreography are all highly developed . . . . . your enthusiasm is infectious!” At the summer session, Sally Hall achieved distinction (90%) for Grade 5 Music Theatre. Former danSing performer, Leah Weerasinghe, who has taken up a place at the prestigious Bristol University, was awarded her Associate Diploma (ALCM) giving a “most enjoyable performance dramatically, vocally and visually.”
At the LCM winter session, former danSing senior, Elin Gilbert was awarded her Grade 8 Music Theatre with distinction (92%). Her programme showed versatility and her performance was described as “moving” and later as being “rhythmical and lively with verve and sense of spontaneity.”

NYMT – West Side Story – The Victoria Warehouse, Manchester – Aug 2013

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danSing senior, William Leaf Puvanesan played the part of Chino in the acclaimed NYMT production of West Side Story which was directed by Nikolai Foster who is one of the country’s most exciting directors. William auditioned with thousands of other hopefuls including former danSinger, Megan Gilbert and Amara Okereke another of Helen Leaf’s pupils – all three landed leading roles! Amara played Maria and Megan was cast as Rosalia. The production received fabulous reviews which named William, Megan and Amara who was referred to as the next Audra McDonald – praise indeed!

All danSingers in the 90s! – LCM Exams 2012

2012 proved to be an amazing year for LCM exam results! At the Spring session Alice Wright, Faye Weerasinghe and Isobel Dunsmore all took their Grade 7 Music Theatre examinations – Alice was awarded 94%, Faye 97% and Isobel 93%! William Leaf-Puvanesan took Grade 5 Music Theatre and also achieved 97%. Chief Examiner of the London College of Music, Philip Aldred, remarked that William was “very engaging and fulfilled all the criteria for this grade and beyond”. He said that Isobel and Alice both gave “a super performance” and that Faye was “truly entertaining!”
A high standard of performance was repeated at the Winter session when danSing seniors, William Leaf Puvanesan and Elin Gilbert were also awarded distinctions for Grade 6 and Grade 7. The examiner said that William was “technically excellent throughout” and that Elin’s “expressive vocal line was controlled and musically phrased”.
Excellent performances from all danSing seniors!

Oliver! National Tour –  Leeds Grand Theatre December 2012

Charlotte Greenwood, danSing intermediate, joined the children’s ensemble in the National Touring production of Oliver!  starring Neil Morrissey as Fagin. This was an amazing achievement for Charlotte who auditioned with hundreds of other children and impressed the casting directors with her singing, dancing and performance skills.

Ruby and the 13th Door – York December 2012

danSing seniors, Alice Wright and Elin Gilbert, joined the cast of a brand new musical which was staged at The Merchant’s Adeventurer’s Hall in York. Written by composer, Martyn Swain, Ruby and the 13th Door is described as an operatic fairytale. What an amazing opportunity for the danSing girls to be involved in the creation of an original production.

The Dreaming, NYMT – July 2012

419592_10200491869563962_123764235_nAfter several rounds of auditions, danSing’s William Leaf Puvanesan was selected to take part in the National Youth Theatre production of Howard Goodall’s The Dreaming at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames, July 2012. The production was directed by Jeremy James Taylor and Russell Labey and the cast were fortunate to perform as part of the International Youth Arts Festival and in the presence of Prince Edward, HRH |The Earl of Wessex a well as the composer himself. Performances of The Dreaming were attended by NYMT alumni including Sheridan Smith and Matt Lucas.

The King and I, National Tour, Bradford Alhambra – May 2012

KingAM2Faye Weerasinghe and William Leaf Puvanesan were selected among hundreds of children to join the cast of a new production of The King and I which was staged at the Bradford Alhambra. This was a lavish production, beautifully choreographed by David Needham and starring Josefina Gabrielle as the teacher Anna and Ramon Tikaram as The King of Siam. danSing Musical Director, Helen Leaf, was invited to coach two teams of children for the production. 

Matt Lucas and Friends – Vaudeville Theatre, London April 2012

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danSing senior, William Leaf Puvanesan, successfully auditioned for the prestigious National Youth Music Theatre Company and was invited to take part in a fabulous charity show at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s famous West End. The show was hosted by Matt Lucas and featured NYMT alumni and young people taking part in the 2012 NYMT summer productions. William performed a number with Matt himself!

Annie, Leeds Playhouse – December 2011

A brand new production of Annie, directed by Nicolai Foster, was staged at the renowned Leeds Playhouse. danSing senior, Elin Gilbert auditioned alongside former danSinger, Hollie-Ann Lowe and Millie Archer who takes part in danSing workshops. All three were cast in the show, Elin as July and Millie as Molly. A tremendous achievement and a wonderful opportunity to work with an amazing creative team. West End and TV actress, Verity Rushworth, who visited danSing earlier in the year, joined the cast as Grace.

Boiling Frog, Harrogate Theatre – July 2011

Faye Weerasinghe, danSing senior, joined the cast of the new musical, Boiling Frog, produced by Humruddy Productions at the Harrogate Theatre. Faye played the character Katie Angel.

Big T, Harrogate Theatre – September 2010

danSingers Megan and Elin Gilbert won Harrogate and district’s first ever Big T talent competition. The Grand Final took place at the Harrogate Theatre and the danSing sisters beat 11 other acts to claim the top spot in front of a capacity audience. Megan and Elin performed a song and dance routine, “We’re A Couple of Swells” in the style of the legendary Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Judges included Mark Charnock ( Marlon Dingle in Emmerdale) and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Christopher Stone.

London College of Music Workshop – 25th May 2010

Senior danSinger, Cecelia Morgan, was selected to take part in a Musical Theatre workshop given by Philip Aldred, Chief Examiner of the London College of Music. The event took place in front of an invited audience at Pocklington Arts Centre and Cecelia performed extracts from her Grade 6 Music Theatre exam programme for which she was awarded a distinction.

Community Idol – Royal Hall – September 2009

danSing soloists Olivia Jackson and Cecelia Morgan were finalists in North Yorkshire Police’s Community Idol competition at Harrogate’s Royal Hall. Open to young singers from all over North Yorkshire, the event was supported by the X Factor’s Simon Cowell who donated a prize of Britain’s Got Talent tickets. The evening was hosted by Nooky Nauyokas from the ITV series Bad Lads Army.

Stray Fm Star Search – December 2008

Senior danSinger’s Laura Bradd and Hannah Rushton were finalists in Stray FM’s Star Search Competition at the Royal Hall, Harrogate 7th December 2008. The panel of judges included The Apprentice finalist, Kristina Grimes and Editor of Excelle Magazine, Amy Bell. Stray FM’s Chris Bell presented the show with finalists competing for £1000 in prize money.

South Pacific UK National Tour – June 2008

CNV00063danSing juniors, William Leaf Puvanesan and Christian Dumouchel auditioned with lots of young hopefuls and were chosen to appear in the UK National Tour of South Pacific at the Bradford Alhambra, June 2-7 2008.  Both took the part of Jerome and performed alongside a star-studded cast including well-known West-End star Dave Willetts and Helen Blackman who was runner-up in the BBC 1 television competition, “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?” What an amazing experience for danSing’s young performers!