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SCOTS film star and heart throb Gerard Butler is making a Glasgow girl's acting dream into a reality.

Category: Misc./General Career News
Article Date: July 21, 2006 | Publication: The Evening Times | Author: Brian Beacom

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Gerard, who starred in the film Phantom of the Opera, is sponsoring Drumchapel hopeful Ashleigh-Kate Wilson through an intensive acting training course.

Ashleigh-Kate, who will be joining the summer programme at the Citizen's Theatre, said: "It's incredible. To get a scholarship is fantastic but to have it paid for by Gerard Butler is unimaginable.

"I've always wanted to be a professional actor and this is a really great lift up the ladder."

Backed by Scottish Youth Theatre, the five-week summer training programme will culminate with Ashleigh-Kate, 17, starring in a professional production of stage musical, Wee Mcgreegor.

Based on the stories by Evening Times writer JJ Bell, Wee Mcgreegor is a 'cheeky Glesga charmer with mischief on his mind', the long forgotten hero of the Scottish 'close'.

Ashleigh-Kate was spotted by the Hollywood actor when she appeared in New York in April with SYT's production of Geordie.

And Gerard, who was with SYT in the 80s, reckoned Ashleigh-Kate had the talent to make it as a professional actor.

The former lawyer, who has also starred in Dear Frankie and Tomb Raider, put his money where his mouth was and promised his backing for Ashleigh-Kate, and youngsters like her.

Today Gerard, from Paisley, explained why he is supporting SYT to the tune of several thousand pounds.

"Scottish Youth Theatre provides a unique opportunity for young people across Scotland and is a stepping stone to the unimaginable.

"It all begins by taking part."

Gerard, 36, is currently in Canada filming his role as the Spartan King Leonidas in Zach Zynder's film 300.

Ashleigh-Kate revealed she was first bitten by the acting bug when she was eight, after her mum spotted a story in the Evening Times.

"A production company was looking for kids to take part in Annie and I landed the role of Molly.

"I decided from that moment on I wanted to become an actor."

After the summer Ashleigh-Kate will study drama at Reid Kerr college in Paisley. Meanwhile, she hopes to thank Gerard in person.

"I wouldn't have been able to afford this had it not been for his help. I'd love to say thank you."


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