Young people set to be VIPs of Broadway stage

Young people from VIP were delighted to receive a cheque for �10,000 at McDonald's in Bellshill
Young people from VIP were delighted to receive a cheque for �10,000 at McDonald's in Bellshill

Young people who attend a Fallside charity are getting ready for the trip of a lifetime when they perform on Broadway this autumn.

VIP Arts and Sports Academy were invited to appear on stage in the Big Apple by production company SMILE which has booked the Town Hall Theatre this October.

SMILE is affiliated with UKA, the governing body for dance teachers which VIP runs its exams through, and such has been VIP’s exam pass rate in success is recent years they caught SMILE’s eyes.

The only problem was the five-day trip to New York trip for a party of 22 people, made up of 13 young people aged 5-22, five chaperones and five parents, was going to cost the better part of £20,000 – money VIP doesn’t have.

They started their own fundraising last year, but by February were less than half way to their total and it looked like the trip may have to be cancelled.

However one of the youngster’s parents works at McDonald’s in Bellshill and franchisee Kate Walker allowed fundraising through all seven of her restaurants.

Earlier this month they handed over a cheque for £10,000 and the trip was saved.

The group will now fly out from Edinburgh to JFK on October 21 and appear on Broadway on October 24.

They have been given a slot for three three-minutes performances, all appropriately around the theme of ‘smile’.

VIP will showcase their musical theatre skills with an excerpt from The Lion King, a street dance routine and a Scottish routine to the music of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

There will also be plenty of time to see the many famous sights New York has to offer before heading back home.

VIP founder Gail Smith said: “We always knew it was going to be a big ask to raise the amount of money we needed to make this the trip of a lifetime.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for our young people, but we seriously did consider cancelling, because we just didn’t think we were going to get there.

“However, we can’t thank Kate Walker and her team enough for stepping in and donating the £10,000 we needed to reach our target.

“Everyone is so excited at the prospect of performing on Broadway and are hard at work ensuring their routines will be perfect when they take to the stage in October.”