A CULLYBACKEY student has been admitted to the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London to complete a BA Hons in Musical Theatre.
Chloe McAleese was one of just 40 students who gained a place on this course, at what is known as the school to the stars, having the likes of Naomi Campbell, Leona Lewis, Pixie Lott and Patsy Kensit as some of their famous past pupils.
The 21 year old is a former pupil of Buick Memorial Primary School as well being a past Head Girl at Cambridge House Grammar School.
Chloe has been performing since she was a child and is thrilled at the opportunity to study at the academy.
Speaking to Guardian, Chloe said: “I have been dancing since the age of seven and have taken part in various competitions and festivals.
“I have been a member of Ballymena Dance Academy where I learned modern dance and tap and I also was a student at the Roberta McCormick School of Ballet, now Prima Classical Ballet.
“I was also Head Girl at Cambridge House Grammar School where my interest in drama really helped me in this role.
“I had to plan the school formal as well as give speeches so it was a great opportunity to improve my confidence.
“I was involved in drama productions while at Cambridge House and played Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie in my last year.
“I applied to Italia Conti and had to undergo an audition before getting accepted.
“As part of the audition, all the applicants had to take part in a big dance class and we had 10 minutes to learn and perfect a routine.
“I then had to perform two singing solos as well as an acting piece.
“I was delighted when I got the news I was accepted!”
Chloe is especially pleased as she had applied to the academy the year before and was struck down with Appendicitis the night before the audition, meaning she had to put her acting ambitions on hold for a year.
Chloe continued: “I will be studying for three years and my dream would be to perform in a West End musical as the main character!
“I have been watching musicals and performing all my life and the character I would most like to play is Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street.”
This will be Chloe’s first time living away from home.
She said: “It’s a very emotional time for everyone at the minute.
“I am a real home bird but I am excited to experience a bit of independence!”
She joked: The whole family is coming with me to move my things over - and then they’re going to abandon me in a big city!”
Chloe continued: “My mum already has plenty of trips planned to come over to London!
“They are all happy that I am getting this opportunity to pursue my dream and they are all really proud.
“They have been so supportive of me and I want to thank them for all the help and encouragement through the years.”