A BUDDING Teignbridge musical student has scooped a prestigious regional award.

While performing as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Nellie Mallett discovered she had been been selected for Teign School’s Helen Foundation Award.

Year 11 student Nellie was appearing on stage at the Pavilions in Teignmouth in Shaldon Theatre Company’s production when she found out. 

The award is presented by Teignbridge schools for the Best Endeavour in the Arts. 

As Nellie was performing in the show, she had to miss her Year 11 awards evening. 

Helen Foundation Trustees, Annie and Roger Kirk, made secret arrangements with the play’s director, Andrew Malcolm, who organised for the whole cast and stage crew to assemble in the auditorium after the performance. 

The realisation dawned on Nellie that the special gathering on stage of the cast was for her. 

It was said Nellie fought back a rush of tears as Roger read out a glowing citation for the THF Award written by Teign School. 

To loud and prolonged applause, Nellie was presented with the award.

Roger said: ‘It was a very emotional moment for us too. 

‘Our daughter, Helen, the inspiration behind The Helen Foundation, had been a Munchkin in Shaldon Theatre Company’s first ever performance in 1987 of The Wizard of Oz when aged just five, which fired her enthusiasm to become an actor. 

‘The next time the company staged the play in 1999, Helen then aged 17, played Dorothy, with a real dog as Toto, and Annie showed Nellie the still-sparkly red shoes that Helen wore when performing as Dorothy.’

The citation from Teign School said she was passionate and dedicated to the performing arts. 

She was given the award for her dedication throughout the school having been in school productions, in the chorus and in lead roles, leading workshops for lower school and was a drama ambassador and in her final year.

The school said: ‘She always put 100 per cent into her drama lessons and was an amazing influence on the younger students. 

‘As they say in the industry, Nellie is a triple treat as she can sing, act and dance to a high standard. We are sure she will go a long way as she pursues a career in the performing arts industry.’