GLASGOW actor Elaine Mackenzie Ellis has sent a message of support to schoolkids preparing for their first summer show in three years.

The Rab C. Nesbitt and Still Game star told pupils at Duncanrig Secondary in East Kilbride to “break a leg” ahead of their staging of Sunshine on Leith next week.

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Elaine, from Sighthill, appeared in the film version of the musical, which is based around the songs of The Proclaimers. 

She is one of Glasgow’s best known stars of stage and screen, having appeared as Natalie in Rab C. Nesbitt, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the King’s Theatre, and alongside Emily Mortimer and Gerard Butler in Dear Frankie.

She recently appeared in the short film Censure, with Tom Conti.

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“Sunshine on Leith was a fab film to work on, and I hope everyone at Duncanrig has a great time being part of it,” she said.

“I love the energy and enthusiasm young people bring to productions - there’s nothing better than a school show.

“The last two years have been really hard on everyone in the creative arts. Being part of a show like this is about so much more for the kids taking part than having the opportunity to act and sing, it’s about being together with your pals, learning new skills and having a great time.

"So it’s great to see everyone get back to what they love doing.”

Glasgow Times:

Sunshine on Leith tells the story of Ally and Davy, two young soldiers picking up their lives again after returning from Afghanistan.

Through the incredible songs of The Proclaimers, including the title track, Let’s Get Married and 500 Miles, they try to adjust to life outside the army, and to deal with the everyday struggles of love, work and friendship.

More than 40 pupils are taking part in Duncanrig’s production, including a talented backstage team involved in set-building, costume, make-up, sound and lighting, overseen by pupils Ross Cooper, who is assistant stage manager, and head lighting technician Max Sweeney.

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“We are all feeling really excited about doing the show,” said Kirsty Wilson, 14, who shares the role of Davy’s mother Jean (the part made famous by Jane Horrocks in the movie version) with Katie McKenna, 17.

“It has been hard work learning the lines but it’s been an amazing opportunity for us. I would never have got to know so many people from different year groups without this, so it’s been great.”

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Kyle Wilmot, 15, who shares the role of Davy with Abigail McAra, 16, and Rachel Crosbie, 14, who plays Ally’s girlfriend Liz, have both enjoyed the experience of performing in a full musical show.

“I want to keep acting, although maybe not as a career,” said Kyle.

“It’s been amazing being in the show and we’re really proud of what we have achieved.”

Rachel added: “It’s been a lot of fun and has inspired me to think about becoming a drama teacher.”

Logan Laughlin, 17, who plays Davy’s father Rab, wants to be a film and TV actor when he leaves school.

He said: “Rab is nothing like me so it’s been a challenge to play someone like that and I have learned a lot.

“Covid meant we couldn’t do anything like this for a while, so it will be brilliant to have our friends and families back into the school to see the show.”

Amy Low, 13, plays Rab’s daughter Eilidh.

“Sunshine on Leith is really happy and fun - it’s the perfect show to do after everything,” she said.

The East Kilbride school’s summer show is a popular fixture on the town’s cultural calendar, so staff are delighted to be able to welcome back the community after a long absence due to Covid.

Drama teacher Heather Rodger, who is directing the show with her colleagues Rachael White and Katy-Anne McGlade, said the whole team had been boosted by Elaine’s message of support.

“We’re really grateful to her for taking time out to support us,” she said.

“It was important to us to return with a fantastic, feel-good show.

“After the last two and a half years, everyone needs a lift and Sunshine on Leith is the most uplifting show."

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She added: “We wanted to do a production that would involve the whole school and get the audience singing along – and these are such great songs that everyone knows.”

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“There are some sad scenes and themes that challenge the young actors, but we have a very strong cast this year, including some who are going on to study drama, and many young pupils who are appearing in a show for the very first time.

"We’re really proud of them all and we hope everyone will come and see it - it’s going to be spectacular.”

To find out how to get tickets for Sunshine on Leith, call Duncanrig Secondary on 01355 588800.