DANCE AND HIGH DRAMA AS FORMER PUPIL ANDE VISITS

A FORMER Dromore High School pupil turned Children's BBC presenter returned to his old school recently to lead today's students in a drama workshop.

Dance coach Ande Gray, presenter of CBBC's 'The Culture Club', ran the workshop to scout for new talent ahead of the next series of his show.

It also served as an introduction to a drama workshop the ex-pupil hopes to stage at the school over a five-week period.

Ande, who is on record as having enjoyed studying history and English, as well as GCSE drama of course, was one of five Dromore High School students given the opportunity to be part of the Northern Ireland performance week at the Millennium Dome.

A Year 12 student at the time, his interest in drama and dance was fuelled by the experience and he decided that was the career he wanted to pursue.

Since then, as well as appearing in many touring shows, he has taken the stage at Belfast's Grand Opera House, starring in High School Musical, West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors and My Fair Lady, among others.

He is currently a tutor in Belfast's Pauline Quirke Drama Academy and is preparing to film the second series of 'The Culture Club' - a show for 7-11 year olds, exploring cultural diversity in Northern Ireland through song and dance - which he will both present and choreograph.

Ande and his team of young 'Cultural Investigators' try each week to find out more about the festival celebrations of the Indian, Chinese, African and Portuguese communities who live locally. The programme is accompanied by a website.

During Ande's recent visit to Dromore High some 30 Year 8-10 pupils entered enthusiastically into a range of dance and drama activities which included learning and performing a dance routine and developing their presenting skills, for which each pupil bravely made an impromptu speech to the rest of the group.

A school spokesperson said, "Ande was impressed by the talent on show and is looking forward to returning to work with the group in the near future.

"It would be a fantastic opportunity for more pupils to follow in the footsteps of Year 10 pupil Rebecca Clinghan, who is appearing in another CBBC show (Cop School)."