On Saturday 12th March, Mr Maloney travelled down to London to see ex-Holly Lodge student, Ellie Clayton, perform in her third year Musical Theatre piece; “A Chorus Line” as Val, alongside other London Central School of Speech and Drama students.

Ellie has had an incredible journey in her quest to become a successful actress since leaving Holly Lodge in 2013 with 9 GCSE results, including a B grade in Drama. She was given the lead role of Elle Woods in The Liverpool Empire’s Youth Theatre production of “Legally Blonde” which had outstanding reviews; resulting in radio interviews.

Mr Maloney asked Ellie if she would like to say a few words, and this is what she had to say:

“I have wanted to perform ever since I can remember but it wasn’t until I started Holly Lodge that I realised my true passion for it. I am very lucky in knowing from an early age that this would be my chosen career but Drama, at Holly Lodge, helped me to achieve the confidence and determination I needed to kick start my career.

One of my favourite memories from my time spent at Holly Lodge was an organised trip to watch Wicked the Musical in London. I had no idea what the musical was all about and did not realise the impact this would have on my life. I will always remember Mr Maloney telling me he could see me playing the role of Glinda one day, and now, 7 years later, I have played Glinda in many short performances and love this musical so much; I have managed to watch it 10 times!  Hopefully one day I will fulfil my dream of playing Glinda on the west End.

After leaving Holly Lodge the support I had and continue to receive is unbelievable and my sincere thanks and gratitude must go to Mr Maloney for always believing in me and encouraging me to work hard to achieve what I am doing today and I hope that I am making him proud.

My advice to serious actors would be study hard, research good drama schools and go and see as many plays/musicals and theatre as possible! You will be surprised how much you learn by simply watching!”

Ellie is the model Holly Lodge student. She is resilient and determined; striving for a career in the West End which we are all sure will happen very soon.

Mr Maloney felt exceptionally proud to see a former student shining on stage, alongside her fellow cast members; seeing her so confident and self-assured. We hope Ellie can come back to Holly Lodge and talk about her journey very soon and inspire many current students to go out and reach their ambitions in whatever career path they choose to do.


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