A TALENTED teenager who has won a place at the prestigious performing arts school attended by Catherine Zeta Jones and Jane Seymour plans to sing her heart out on Saturday in an online fundraising concert.

Ellie McConnachie had planned a series of events to help fund her place at ArtsEd musical theatre college in London but has had to rethink following the coronavirus outbreak.

“I had lots of fundraising ideas but with lockdown restrictions in place I couldn’t do any of them,” explains the 18-year-old, who lives in Erskine with her mum and dad, Angela and Arthur, and sister Emma, 12.

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“I came up with the idea for the online session instead. I’m hoping people will donate and by singing for them, I’m giving something back to everyone who is supporting me. I know people are struggling just now, and there are many people much worse off than me, so I really am grateful to everyone who is helping me.

“ArtsEd is where I’ve wanted to go for a long time. When I walked into the audition, I felt like I was in the right place.”

Glasgow Times:

Arts Educational Schools has Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber as its president and has been training young people for careers in the performing arts for more than 100 years. In addition to Bond star Seymour and Zeta-Jones, who has appeared in a string of well-known movies, famous alumni include actor Martin Clunes and singer Will Young.

Singing and performing have been Ellie’s dream since she was a young child.

“I started dancing at the age of three and for years, all I ever want to be was a dancer,” she says. “Then I picked up a guitar and suddenly, that changed. When I started singing lessons, at Angela McCallum School of Music, I realised I wanted it to be more than just a hobby.”

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For the last four years, Ellie has been a pupil at the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood. She plans to move to London once life gets back to normal post COVID-19.

Glasgow Times:

“I can’t wait,” she smiles. “Everything is a bit confusing at the moment but I hope to be able to start at ArtsEd as planned in September. My long term plan is to do everything – I’d love to do musical theatre, film and TV, pop and I want to travel.”

She adds, laughing: “Acting is a new interest for me because I am obsessed with Killing Eve. I want to play a Russian assassin. Maybe a Russian assassin who sings.”

For the moment, Ellie is practising her set for Saturday, a mixture of musical theatre classics, pop songs and her own compositions.

“I’m taking requests through my Facebook page, Ellie McConnachie Music, and will be doing the concert live at 8pm on Saturday,” she explains. “It will just be me, in my kitchen, singing away – with my mum, dad and sister clapping like mad in the background as my audience.”

Glasgow Times:

Ellie’s sister Emma is also a keen singer and the two girls raised the roof of the People’s Palace when they performed at the Glasgow Times Streets Ahead Awards in 2018.

Ellie adds: “I know how I feel going to see a musical or a concert, the thrill of sitting in the audience and being entertained. So to one day get the chance to be on the other side of that would be a real honour for me.”