A BUSINESS owner from the Scottish Borders is one step away from pursuing her dream career as an actor as she prepares to enter her second year of training at one of the UK’s leading performing arts academies.

Zoe V Kedding built a successful career as the owner of their family hotel The Plough Hotel, in Town Yetholm, and as partner in Edinburgh bases waste management business Dunedin Recycling Group.

But she has decided to pursue a professional stage career after returning from a trip to Australia and gaining a coveted place at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts in Edinburgh.

Zoe first discovered she had a talent for acting at her primary school, St. Mary’s Melrose, when cast in a school play and hasn’t stopped since.

She has been regularly involved in amateur theatre, public speaking events and several musical productions.

The 32-year-old said: “I first performed when I was only five years old in a school play. I lost my confidence for a while but managed to get it back and start performing again. Every time I was on stage, people would ask me why I wasn’t pursuing theatre. The truth is I love to entertain people and make them smile.

“I applied for a place at The MGA Academy because I wanted to train professionally but remain in Scotland with my son. I contacted my old drama teacher for advice, and she recommended The MGA Academy as she’d heard good things.

“The tutors are very good at preparing students for the industry. You can’t be late and need to attend all the classes. Through the training, you really get a feel of the discipline you need to be successful once you graduate. As a successful business owner, I already had a strong sense of discipline, but for younger people with less experience it can really make a difference.”

Since joining The MGA Academy Zoe has found a love for Shakespeare, and she would like to one day perform at The Globe Theatre in London.

“My fellow Acting students and I crafted a play that touched on how sex is viewed by society as a tabu subject. We wanted to offer an open and inter-generational conversation through the play.”

The MGA Academy of Performing Arts was established in 2005 to provide a platform for aspiring performers to remain in Scotland while studying at a level equivalent to prestigious London colleges.

The school, which attracts aspiring performers from around the UK and across Europe is now recruiting for its 2022-23 intake for BA (Hons) Dance, Musical Theatre, and Acting, with auditions set to take place on Sunday 7 August.

In 2017, The MGA Academy achieved full accreditation from the London-based Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT) and its full-time degree courses are accredited by Bath Spa University.

School principal Marcella Macdonald said: “We are delighted to announce that applications are now open for our final audition for courses starting this year. Auditions will take place on Sunday 7 August in Edinburgh, though there is also an opportunity to attend virtually. At the audition, we are looking for potential rather than perfection and would encourage aspiring performers like Zoe from the Scottish Borders to apply.”

Recent graduates of the MGA Academy include Disney film star Thomas Doherty (The Lodge, Descendents 2), West End stars Fergal McGoff (Matilda, Mamma Mia and The Bodyguard), Caitlin Tipping (Frozen Musical and the UK tour of SIX) and Thiannon Chesterman (Mrs Henderson Presents and Grease), and Rebecca Stenhouse, who recently played Sandy in Grease aboard Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship.

To apply for a place at the MGA Academy of Performing Arts before auditions on Sunday 7 August, visit www.themgaacademy.com/apply