Three promising young talents will receive a fully funded year of musical theater lessons in conjunction with the Inverness Courier.
A wealth of talent was showcased by all of the contenders for the TFX Performing Arts Academy spots, but the two Courier spots were filled by 14-year-old Amy Beattie and 16-year-old Edward Mackenzie.
The two presented dance pieces for their audition tapes which were captivating and showed immense promise and skill.
In a surprise move, TFX director Sally Robertson then created an additional scholarship for 11-year-old Kaiyan Shareef who she thought was too good to pass up.
Kaiyan walked into an impressive self-choreographed acro dance piece.
The three students will receive a weekly three-hour musical theater class as well as uniforms. Their progress will be tracked through monthly articles in the Courier.
Amy, from Inverness, has been at TFX for over 10 years and says acting and dancing are her real passion, with her sights set on going to dance school in London in a few years.
She said: “It means so much to me to get this scholarship. Musical theater is something I’ve wanted to do since I was so young and it’s such a great opportunity.
“The atmosphere and the people in the musical theater are so encouraging. The teachers make it so warm and welcoming. It makes me so happy to be on stage.
Edward has been at TFX for 13 years and says his whole life is shaped around dance and musical theatre.
When asked why he loves dancing, Edward replied, “I love everything. My whole life is shaped around dance. I started it at the age of three when I started at TFX. The whole 13 years of my life that I have devoted to dance. I never really took a break. Even on vacation, I do dance stuff. It’s my whole life for me, I spend all my time dancing. It’s really important to me, I don’t know what I would do without it.
Edward performed with TFX at Wembley in 2016 and has been part of the Eden Court pantomime for five years.
He is now eager to see what opportunities the scholarship opens up for him.
Kaiyan only joined TFX in 2021, taking part in acro classes. He said he found something he really loved and that dancing was a great way to express himself.
He was delighted to receive his scholarship.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I really enjoyed the big show of the summer. Thank you for letting me audition and choosing me.
His mother Linda explained how Kaiyan dances where and when he can, at work and at home.
She said: “I’m extremely proud of him. It’s just lovely to watch him, he does everything on his own.
“I am delighted that he has this opportunity.”
Ms Robertson commented: “Amy’s video showed an obvious talent that we look forward to helping out more at TFX. Kaiyan’s potential really shone through and we loved the individuality of his audition.
“We felt Edward’s video really represented the male talent of the Highlands and it’s great to see him volunteering for one of the scholarships.”