Norfolk schoolgirl directing aged 11

Katie McGonagle, 11, of Drayton Junior School, who has written and composed all the music for her mu

Katie McGonagle, 11, of Drayton Junior School, who has written and composed all the music for her musical called Stories Alive, which she is directing as well. - Credit: Archant 2013

Not many 11-year-olds can claim to have written their own musicals and songs, but Norwich schoolgirl Katie McGonagle has already written two musicals and has designs on a career in showbusiness.

The Drayton Junior School pupil, who is a member of the Mad Red Theatre School at Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich, initially started drama lessons to overcome shyness and a lack of self-confidence, but quickly found she had a passion for acting and has now turned her hand to writing and directing as well as acting, including her latest musical, Stories Alive, which was performed by pupils at her school this week.

She has also written songs to accompany her productions, which include movies shot with a camcorder, using her friends as actors. She has also learned keyboard skills to write her songs.

'I started out doing drama to lift my confidence and I found out that not only did I love acting, but it has led into other things like writing and filming,' she said.

Stories Alive is about a girl who goes to a fairytale land and finds that she and her friends have to stop the evil Queen.

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She added: 'I just really enjoy stepping into someone else's shoes and living somebody else's life a little bit.' She has performed in the musical production of The Railway Children at Dereham Railway Station in June 2012, playing Phyllis, just a month or two after she started taking acting lessons.

Since then, she has gone on to perform in Whistle Down the Wind with the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre.

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She believed her interest in acting stemmed from a passion for reading books, especially mysteries and thrillers, while she also enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books, citing Hermione Granger as her favourite character.

The fantasy book the Seven Sorcerers is another favourite of hers.

Her mother Karen said: 'We're all naturally very proud of her as she is only 11 and to be so accomplished at songwriting and script writing in this way at such a young age seems really quite extraordinary.'

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