Former Ballina resident Teneale Clifford, 13, has been chosen to play a major role in the hit stage show Billy Elliott the Musi
Former Ballina resident Teneale Clifford, 13, has been chosen to play a major role in the hit stage show Billy Elliott the Musi

She's dancing to stardom

By BRIAN BIGG news@northernstar.com.au WHEN Teneale Clifford was born, the front page of The Northern Star read, 'A star is born'.

She was the first baby delivered in the new maternity ward at Ballina District Hospital.

Now that prophecy has come true. Teneale, 13, has been selected to play a major role in the new hit stage show, Billy Elliott the Musical, at Sydney's Capitol Theatre.

Her mother, Therese, said Teneale's debut on stage was at the age of 18 months while her mum performed the lead in Stepping Out.

While leaving the stage hand in hand with her mum, she broke her grip and ran back on, refusing to come off stage. Since the age of three she has been trained in dance, drama and singing.

Teneale now attends Talent Development High School in Moore Park, which was derived from the Brent Street Studios where she has been training in performing arts from the age of six.

Teneale has already built an impressive portfolio including TV commercials, short films, TV shows and live stage shows.

"I have grown up performing. It is what I know and what I love to do," she said.

But Teneale's upcoming role was tough to get. After three days of auditioning and a lengthy wait to hear the decision, Teneale was overjoyed to receive the news that her gruelling audition and all her hard work had proved successful.

"I play Keeley Gibson. She's a bit mischievous," she said. "Her mum's got cerebral palsy so she comes to class without her shoes and that sort of thing.

"I think she's trying to be good, but doesn't really succeed."

But Teneale seems to have it sorted out.

"I'm not aiming for fame - I'm aiming for people to know that I'm out there.'



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