Josie dances to prestigious school

Josie Briant has been selected to attend The Hammond School of Performing Arts in Chester.
Josie Briant has been selected to attend The Hammond School of Performing Arts in Chester.

A girl who hopes one day to star in a West End show has won a place at a prestigious performing arts school.

Josie Briant started dancing from a young age and developed her skills in sessions at South Shields, where she and her parents lived before moving two years ago.

Earlier this year, the 12-year-old came through a demanding series of auditions at The Hammond School of Performing Arts in Chester, which also has an excellent academic reputation.

But the former Ashley Primary School pupil still had to wait as parents Mike and Lynsey could only afford to send her to the school if they received sufficient contribution funds from the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme scholarship that she had achieved.

After recently finding out the exact figure, which was enough, they were able to break the good news to their daughter. She will start boarding at the school later this month September.

Josie said: “I had to wait what felt like 100 years to be told I’m definitely going there, but now it’s happening words can’t really describe my excitement.

“It will be different because it will be like living with a lot of brothers and sisters.”

Her early sessions took place at Art of Dance in South Shields and she developed her ballet skills with Miss Burden at Laygate School in the town.

Since the family moved to north Newcastle, she has attended Dance City in Newcastle city centre and worked on singing and drama acting at Stagecoach Performing Arts in Gosforth.

Through Stagecoach and the Peanuts Agency, Josie successfully auditioned for the role of Young Fiona when Shrek the Musical toured both the Theatre Royal in Newcastle and Sunderland Empire in 2015.

She said: “I was a bit nervous the first time I performed as Young Fiona, but I soon felt comfortable on the stage and it was a great experience.”

Her parents thanked the Art of Dance, Miss Burden and the staff at Ashley Primary for their support, as well as those who have helped her development over the last couple of years.

Mike added: “Josie may not end up in the performing business, but studying at The Hammond means she will have a lot of fun along the way, meet lots of people, perform in great shows and enjoy some fantastic experiences.”