Cookstown girl to tread boards at the MAC in classic musical West Side Story

Caitlin Pendlebury outshone hundreds of hopefuls to clinch the role of Rosalia
Caitlin Pendlebury outshone hundreds of hopefuls to clinch the role of Rosalia

Cookstown girl Caitlin Pendlebury is to tread the boards at the MAC next week when she takes on a principle role in musical classic, West Side Story.

The St Mary’s Grammar student said she is extremely excited to have been cast as Rosalia in the Belfast School of Performing Arts production after outshining hundreds of hopefuls from all across Ireland.

The 18-year-old A-Level student has been working hard in rehearsals for the show this week, but feels “it will be all worthwhile when the curtain opens next Wednesday night”.

Training in speech and drama for as long as she can remember, this is not the first time Caitlin has won a much coveted role.

The grade eight singer played the lead in former Boyzone star, Shane Lynch’s production of Punch at the Bardic four years ago and often takes part in productions at her local theatre, Cookstown’s Burnavon.

But this is the first time she will appear on a stage outside of Mid Ulster.

The musical is playing from August 19-22

The musical is playing from August 19-22

Over the moon at being chosen to play Rosalia, whom she describes as quite funny and the one that gets picked on quite a bit, she said: “Whenever I was auditioning I could hear everyone else and they were just incredible, so even to be picked and to be compared with all this talent is amazing.

“Rehearsals are tough enough,” Caitlin added.

“There’s a lot of dancing going on and I’m not used to all the dancing - you have to be very fit for it.”

But even with all the hard work that is involved, she said she has really enjoyed the experience.

“It’s so enjoyable and you learn so much, even just to be part of it, it’s amazing.

“Everyone has such talent here,” Caitlin went on, “incredible, incredible talent. I feel like I’m singing with West End people.”

When asked if she would like to make a career out of it, she said: “I’d love to, but it’s such a tough career I feel like I have to have other options.

“You have to be the best of the best to get anywhere but I would love to go on and do drama.”

And if that doesn’t go to plan Caitlin said her recent work experience at the BBC has her thinking about a career in broadcast journalism where she can join her love of English and performance.

You can see the results of Caitlin’s hard work when she appears as Rosalia in West Side Story at the MAC Theatre, Belfast. The show is playing every night from Wednesday, August 19 to Saturday, August 22 at 7.30pm with a matinee on the Saturday. Tickets available from the MAC box office.