STAGEDRIGHT has become recognised as the best youth theatre group in Cumbria.

Looking at the number of graduates who have gone on to work full-time in show business suggests that the theatre group is not only a place where young people can gain confidence, hone their talents and enjoy themselves, it also offers a training that grows these children into professionals in the world of music, dance and art.

Next week sees the start of the organisation's most lavish and most expensive show to date.

They will have three performances of Phantom of the Opera - and if other shows are any indication - this one will live up to its reputation for drama, costumes and, most importantly, production values.

The makeup is sorted for a start.

Former StagedRight student Carly Roberts is making a name for herself on television and theatre, as a makeup artist and prosthetic artist.

She has taken a holiday to return to where it all started and to make sure the tortured Phantom looks as gruesome as he is supposed to!

The man behind StagedRight is David McNeil, the former events manager for Cumbrian Newspapers.

Suffice to say he has greasepaint running through his veins. Whether onstage or off, or organising an event, he has proved his talents many times.

His greatest talent, though, appears to be getting the best out of the young people in the professional shows put on by this amateur group.

Among those graduates who have gone on to work in theatre is his own son, Jack, who is appearing in the West End hit, The Book of Mormon.

Then here is Clark Wilkinson who is a stage manager, producer and performer and, already mentioned, Carly who is living in London and working as a makeup artist and prosthetics maker for the theatre and television.

There are many more who are earning a living singing, dancing or teaching others to sing and dance.

But even more importantly, StagedRight has given hundreds of young Cumbrians the chance to grow in confidence, to make friends, have fun and to enjoy their moment in the spotlight.

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