The King and Pearce and Ellen

Ellen Whitehead. INNT 04-038-FP
Ellen Whitehead. INNT 04-038-FP

TWO young actors from Newtownabbey will be turning Siamese for a production of The King and I in Belfast’s Grand Opera House.

Pearce McFall, from Glengormley and Ellen Whitehead from Jordanstown have starring roles in the ensemble cast of the professional theatre production.

For Ellen it is her first performance with a professional company, but the 12-year-old already has a string of credits to her name, having performed in shows both at the Opera House and the Theatre at The Mill.

The Dominican College girl who plays one of the children in the performance, said: “I have always wanted to dance, particularly ballet, tap and jazz.”

Pearce, aged 13, meanwhile, only took to the stage when one of his teachers recognised his acting potential.

He too plays one of the children of the royal court in The King and I.

The Edmund Rice College pupil said: “My drama teacher recommended I sign up for the youth programme at the Grand Opera House. There was about 400 people who auditioned for the theatre school and I was one of the lucky ones.”

Roger and Hammerstein’s mesmerising classic blends music, drama, dance and a heart-warming tale. It is told using one of the most beautiful scores ever written with sweeping melodies such as ‘Shall We Dance’, ‘I Whistle A Happy Tune’, ‘Hello Young Lovers’, ‘The March of the Siamese Children’ as well as the unforgettable ‘Getting To Know You’.

The King and I runs until Saturday, February 4, at the Grand Opera House. Tickets range in price from £15 to £31 and are available from the Box Office on Tel: 028 9024 1919, online at or at the theatre itself.

Read the full story about Pearce and Ellen in this week’s Newtownabbey Times...