Maria has her heart set on the West End stage

Maria May Thompson, 18, has been accepted by the Italia Conti Academy to study musical theatre.
Maria May Thompson, 18, has been accepted by the Italia Conti Academy to study musical theatre.
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AN aspiring star is one step closer to her dream.

Maria May Thompson has won a place at London’s Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts to study musical theatre.

The 18-year-old, of Woodley, Houghton, will goes to London in September, and hopes to one day grace the West End stage.

The Durham High School for Girls pupil said: “I’ve danced pretty much since I could walk, and my mam’s always taken me to see musicals so I’ve always been interested.

“I always hoped that I’d go to London to study. It’s the place to be for what I want to do.”

Maria trains with her mum Anne Thompson’s dance school Zazz, in Houghton, and has performed in many productions there.

“There’s lots of shows that I’d love to be in,” she said. “But I think my dream role would be to play Elle in Legally Blonde.

“I went to see it in London a few weeks ago and it was amazing.

“It is strange to watch a show in the West End and think that it could be me up there one day but I’m so determined to do it.”

Maria has qualified to teach ballet, but has her heart set on appearing on the stage.

She said: “There’s so much going on in London that it wouldn’t have to be musical theatre I was doing. I could dance, act, sing, or anything.

“When I’m finished my course I think I’ll stay in London, because there’s not many audition opportunities up north.

“I am a little nervous about moving away, but I’m excited.”

Maria had to go through a vigorous audition process to guarantee her sought-after spot at the school.

In just one day she performed two songs, acting monologues, dances, took part in workshops, and had an interview.

“I was so excited when I found out I got in,” said the teenager.

“I’d made a bet with somebody that if I didn’t get in they’d give me a cash booby prize, and I was sure I wasn’t going to make it.

“I’m so glad though. I think I’d definitely rather have got in than got the money.

“I hope that I’m well prepared for the course, but I know it’s going to be really intense.”

@sunderlandecho