The rising stars of tomorrow from the Musical Theatre High stage school put on two days of Christmas charity shows to honour the memory of an aspiring young performer who was murdered 10 years ago this week.
The youngsters, who are coached by former West End star and Linslade-raised Richard Reynard, appeared in excerpts from the Sound of Music and Singin’ In The Rain to the delight of proud friends and relatives.
As well as showcasing the youngsters’ progress, the event raised more than £830, through donations and the sale of cupcakes and charity wristbands, for the Rosie May Memorial Fund which finances a Sri Lankan orphanage for young girls.
The orphanage, which looks after 20 girls, was set up by Graham and Mary Storrie, who visited the country a year after their 10-year-old daughter, Rosie May, was murdered during a Christmas party in 2003.
While in Sri Lanka they were caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami that devastated the region and killed 230,000 over 14 countries.
The couple, who came down from their home in Leicestershire to be guests of Richard’s for the performances, decided to launch a trust to help give hope to other young girls affected by the disaster.
They also started an academy for young performers in their home area and met Richard, who was then starring in Blood Brothers, when he visited to give expert coaching.
They have raised more than £270,000 by fund-raising over the past decade.
Said Mary: “Rosie was a dancer and went to a stage school just like this. She had just won a part in her first professional panto when she was killed. A flood of money came in - more than £22,000. We had cheques arriving from all over the world - not that we’d ever asked for any donations - so we decided to use it to give hope to others.”
The £1.50 wristbands sold at the concerts feeds one of the orphan for a week, she revealed (for more information about the charity go to www.rosie-may.com)
Said Richard: “They are just such incredible people. We wanted to help.”
One MTH performer Alice Hardy won a new year-long Rosie May Scholarship. Other in-house scholarships went to Louis Howley and Ethan Doyle.