Stardom beckons for Derry’s Maria

Sandra Biddle with Derry actor Maria Laird. (2402PG08)

Sandra Biddle with Derry actor Maria Laird. (2402PG08)

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This is the Derry schoolgirl who has landed a major role in a new film penned by ITN journalist Tom Bradby.

Maria Laird, a pupil at the Foyle School of Speech and Drama led by local woman Sandra Biddle, will play a young Collette McVeigh in the movie ‘Shadow Dancer’ starring alongside Clive Owen and Aiden Gillen.

And last night her mum Donna revealed how writer Tom Bradby commented that Maria was exactly how he imagined the character of Collette looking.

In the film Maria stars in a poignant scene which sees her immersed in the girly pastime of stringing beads to go to the shop for cigarettes as her father.

Instead she sends her little brother, who gets caught in crossfire and killed. Stunned guilt is written all over the girl’s face as she stares mutely at her anguished family gathered around the body, her brightly coloured new necklace seeming to reinforce her cupability.

Sandra Biddle from the Foyle School of Speech and Drama said: “I am delighted with this great opportunity for Maria . She undertook a gruelling audition process but thankfully was successful in the end. She has indeed done the Foyle school and Derry proud. It is amazing that yet again someone from our great city can get the recognition on the international stage.

“The future look very bright for Derry’s latest star.”

Maria has now finised shooting and the film is due to be released soon.