Nicola on course to fulfil her stage career dream

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A young performer from Arbirlot is following her dream career by gaining a place at one of the UK’s leading performing arts academies.

Eighteen-year-old Nicola Fairley, a pupil at Arbroath High School, has landed a place on the three-year Musical Theatre Diploma course at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts in Edinburgh and will begin full-time training in September to be a professional performer.

Nicola, formerly of Arbirlot Primary School, impressed staff at The MGA Academy in an intensive audition and she was delighted to later receive a letter of acceptance. This allows her to remain in Scotland while studying at a level equivalent to prestigious London performing arts colleges.

She said: “I had to read the letter about seven times to take in what it said, then I cried a lot, as it was one of the best feelings to get into the school I wanted.

“I want to be on stage entertaining people and feel that The MGA Academy will improve my standard of dance and performance to help me reach my goal. The audition was actually on my 18th birthday and I was so nervous. I was determined to get into The MGA Academy, though. When I got there, it was so chilled and I really enjoyed the experience of delivering my monologue, from the play Because Of Beth, and my song, Part Of Your World, from The Little Mermaid.”

Andrew Gowland, Managing Director of The MGA Academy, said: “We look forward to welcoming Nicola onto our Musical Theatre Diploma course at The MGA Academy. She is already very talented and impressed all the staff during her audition, but we are confident the training she receives here will ensure that she develops her skills and help her achieve her dream of becoming a professional performer. We would welcome applications from young performers with similar aspirations to Nicola.”

Nicola has been a member of Notorious Dance in Arbroath and Angus Centre of Performing Arts in Carnoustie, and she was a part of the Arbroath High School group that won the Scottish final of the Rock Challenge competition. Nicola explained: “My interest in being on stage started in fourth year when my music teacher said my singing voice was quite good. A girl at school then told me about The MGA Academy and I went to an open day in early-2016 with one of my friends. To see everyone dancing and the way it was run, it looked great. My teacher at Angus Centre of Performing Arts said that The MGA Academy offered a good level of teaching, too. I looked at where I wanted to go to study after school, and I’ve always felt at home in Edinburgh. I didn’t want to move to London at this age and be so far away from my family, so The MGA Academy was a perfect option for me and I can’t wait to start.”

Nicola will move to Edinburgh in summer to begin studies at The MGA Academy, which last month [April 2017] became the first full-time professional training academy in Scotland to be awarded accreditation by CDET, the UK’s quality assurance and membership body for the professional dance, drama and musical theatre industries.

The MGA Academy is currently accepting applications for places on three-year full-time vocational training courses starting in September 2017, with the next auditions set to be held on June 11.

In summer, the Academy will run a free week of classes, workshops and question-and-answer sessions for boys aged 14 and older who are considering a professional career in performing arts. Guest tutors at Boys’ Scholarship Week, set to run from July 24-28, include Arthur Gourounlian, a performer with Girls Aloud, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and Pink. Places are limited, and those interested should call 0131 466 9392 or email

Recent graduates of The MGA Academy include Disney film star Thomas Doherty (The Lodge, Descendents 2), West End stars Fergal McGoff (Matilda, Mamma Mia and The Bodyguard) and Rhiannon Chesterman (Mrs Henderson Presents and Grease), and Rebecca Stenhouse, who recently played Sandy in Grease aboard Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship.