A DANCE teacher will be launching a theatre school after being inspired by the growth of her musical theatre class.

Ashleigh's Dance School in Clayton-le-Moors turned six in February and despite a year of struggles in lockdown, owner Ashleigh Bunkham is planning on opening a theatre school in September.

Having worked at a Basics Junior Theatre School in Burnley for nine years, Ashleigh, who is leaving the group in May, said it was a difficult decision start her own theatre school but is hopeful about the project given the success of her dance school.

Ashleigh, 29, said: "The theatre school is something I always wanted to do.

"We looked at our musical theatre class and thought we want something to aim towards a bit more – we want a bigger goal.

"I know that we can make a success of it because I can see how amazing the team have done by growing the school the way it has done."

Other classes that the dance school currently offers as well as musical theatre include ballet, tap, modern jazz, street, cheer and contemporary.

Ashleigh has recognised that even though many pupils take part in her musical theatre class, they may not all want to join the school which is why she has made this into a separate project.

She continued: "As much as we would like all the kids who do musical theatre to be in the academy, it is a big commitment.

"We are going to keep the musical theatre class whereas the theatre academy will be working towards a licensed show each year."

Ashleigh, who started working as a dance teacher aged 19, was inspired to start singing after her great-grandfather was a singer himself.

She added: "It's always run in my family singing, my great-grandad was a singer in the Accrington Amateur group.

"I don't want to let it go. I want to keep teaching the singing and acting.

"It's been a big part of my childhood and a big part of me."