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Actress Christine opens drama school in Pagham

PROFESSIONAL actress Christine Ellerbeck is passing on her skills in Pagham after her move to the village.


Christine, pictured above, is probably best known as Beattie in London’s Burning and Lisa in the original series of Birds of a Feather.


She said: “I’ve done a lot of theatre and toured with the English Theatre Company taking Shakespeare around the country.


“I’ve done BBC radio, worked with Ken Loach on Ladybird, was Beryl in EastEnders and have appeared in My Family three times, New Tricks and I was Joy in Albert’s Memorial and Bet in Come Rain Come Shine with David Jason.”


The first session of her Oak Academy of Performing Arts, of which she is the principal, will be 6.30pm-8.30pm tonight at Pagham United Reformed Church on Pagham Road. The age group for children will be 7-14 years.


Christine ran the Oak Academy drama clubs for children in Ottershaw, Surrey, for 15 years when she lived in the area. She previously taught occasionally at Colin’s drama school in London and privately coached as well as appearing in the top-rated productions.


“The clubs are amazing fun and the children are taught by a professional still in the business,” said Christine. “All my students gain enormous confidence and become fine actors.”


She includes plenty of improvisation in the sessions and writes 40-minute shows which gives the students the chance to perform.


Previous productions include murder mysteries Hotel Spellbound and Murder on the Rue Rouge and Cinderella, a panto, Snow White and The Dudes and Robin Hood.


“Everyone has a part. I have no children standing around doing nothing,” she said.


“It’s great fun but there are rules. I produce children that, if they so want, could enter the acting profession.


“This isn’t something I encourage as I know how difficult the business is. But I do have seven children signed with an agent. Three are working and doing adverts.


“The standard of the children I put forward is extremely high. But the main purpose of the club is all about fun and confidence. I have the shyest of children attend the club and, after three weeks, I can’t get them off the stage.


“Children are superstars when they’re on stage. That’s what I encourage.”


Christine is also hoping to open a club in the Bersted or Bognor Regis area once her Pagham venture is up and running.

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