Deanshanger girl dances her way to first place in national talent contest

Emily Penwell, aged 13, has won Stagecoach's 2020 talent competition with her dance video

By Hannah Richardson
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 9:21 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 9:24 am

A Deanshanger girl has won a talent competition run by Stagecoach Performing Arts

Emily Penwell, aged 13, from Deanshanger, has been announced as the winner of Stagecoach's 2020 talent competition, in association with Puffin and West End star and vlogger Carrie Hope Fletcher.

The Stagecoach Talent Competition aims to encourage young people across the UK to get involved and showcase their creative talents.

Emily Penwell

Entrants aged from four to 18 had to submit a short, three-minute video, showcasing their dancing, singing or acting talents.

And on Friday, the expert panel of judges announced Emily as the winner, for her dance performance.

Emily's prize includes a 12-month subscription to stagecoachathome enabling her to access Stagecoach lessons anytime from home, worth nearly £300, a signed copy of Into the Spotlight, and a personalised video message from Carrie Hope Fletcher, with performance tips and advice from her career. Two runners-up will receive a copy of Into the Spotlight.

Emily said: "I worked really hard on my dance so I'm very happy that the Stagecoach judges and Carrie Hope Fletcher could see that.

"I have been dancing since I was six, and am proud that all those weeks of practising my performance have paid off.

"I'm looking forward to reading my Puffin books and to many more years of performing on stage."

Carrie Hope Fletcher said: “It’s been amazing to witness the wonderful talent of these young performers.

"Performing has always allowed me to express myself and grow in confidence so that I’m ready to take on the challenges life throws at me.

"I hope that by taking part in this competition, the students will learn to believe in themselves and their own, unique creativity.

"I am honoured to share my work with them and to have been able to send a personal congratulations to the winner was a privilege. I’m sure all the entrants have bright careers ahead of them.”

Stagecoach talent scout Gary Jerry said: “It was great to see such diverse talent across the competition, with each and every student taking a different approach to their performance. Emily should be immensely proud of her achievement.

"Stagecoach Performing Arts is all about celebrating creativity, and there was certainly no shortage of that here. I hope all the young performers will continue to grow in confidence and take on new creative challenges”.

Stagecoach is the largest network of extra-curricular performing arts schools in the UK and has seen the likes of Emma Watson (Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Fantastic Four), and Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Jack the Giant Slayer) pass through its doors. For more information, visit