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Dublin: 17°C Thursday 23 September 2021

Recognise any of these faces from the Late Late Toy Show? The Billie Barry kids are playing the Gaiety

The show will see all 800 students perform alongside special guests.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

THE FOUNDER OF the Dublin stage school that bore her name passed away in 2014 – but next week, all 800 Billie Barry pupils will take to the stage to pay tribute to the theatre great.

“It was always her dream that the school would long outlive her,” said Lorraine Barry, Billie’s daughter.

“She absolutely loved her students … her legacy is living on through them, through me and through everyone here at the school.”

Billie Barry began her career in entertainment at five years of age, when she toured with her sister and was billed as ‘the Wonder Kid’.

She founded the stage school in 1964 with a class of only 32 students. Over 53 years later the school has seen over 20,000 students pass through it doors including the likes of Brian McFadden and Samantha Mumba.

photo3 Source: Andrew Roberts/TheJournal.ie

“This is going to be a huge tribute to Ms Barry,” said Louise Bowden, a former West End performer and now teacher at the Billie Barry Stage School.

I was a former student here and some of my fondest memories are seeing Ms Barry in class with Lorraine teaching together.

Bowden said the skills she learned at the school helped instill confidence at an early age.

“You have to be really professional in the industry I’m in,” she says. “The skills I’ve learnt here have been absolutely key to the success I’ve had.”

photo1 Source: Andrew Roberts/TheJournal.ie

The show will see special guests June Rodgers, Keith Hanna and Samantha Mumba – as well as Bowden – take to the stage.

“We’ll have selections from most of the West End musicals: School of Rock, Newsies, 42nd Street, including a Samantha Mumba-led Motown medley and a tribute to Prince,” Lorraine Barry said.

“The work started in January, and we’ve been rehearsing since then. Now (one week away) the atmosphere in class is absolutely wonderful.”

‘Her Stars Will Shine’ is playing from 17 October to 21 October at the Gaiety Theatre. Tickets are on sale now from Ticketmaster and at the Gaiety Theatre Box Office.

Read: It wasn’t just you – everyone wanted to be a Billie Barry kid >

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