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Young battler lands leading role in Annie Warbucks

ROSALEE Sinclair always knew her daughter Ella was going to be a star despite suffering breathing difficulties all her life.

The 11-year-old, who suffers cystic fibrosis, has been named as the lead role of the Australian premiere of the musical Annie Warbucks and she's dragged the entire family along too.

Younger sister Lily and dad Peter have also been cast in supporting roles for the opening Nambour Civic Centre shows on November 6 and 7.

Cystic fibrosis sufferers are often given alternative treatments that incorporate high levels of aerobic exercise, such as swimming, to combat lung issues associated with the genetic disease.

Ella's doctor suggested singing but little did he know, Ella had been a keen performer since she was a toddler, according to her mother Rosalee.

"From age three she was just out there always wanting us to watch her sing songs, pretending to play toy guitar," she said.

"We always knew she had a passion for singing and it's great that it's something she loves and can utilise to help her health.

"It's been amazing for her disease, the breathing exercises and the control of her diaphragm."

STARRING ROLE: Cystic fibrosis sufferer Ella Sinclair, 11, has been cast for the lead role in the Annie Warbucks musical and will perform alongside her sister Lily, 6 and dad, Peter.
STARRING ROLE: Cystic fibrosis sufferer Ella Sinclair, 11, has been cast for the lead role in the Annie Warbucks musical and will perform alongside her sister Lily, 6 and dad, Peter. Che Chapman

Ella has been involved with many school shows, such as Christmas concerts, but this is her first musical performance.

"It's pretty special, unbelievable," Rosalee said.

"The day she found out, she came down to the car and she was just beaming from ear to ear, she was so excited that she couldn't believe it.

"It's huge. She loves performing, singing and dancing, and she's absolutely thrilled."

Ella, like many other cystic fibrosis sufferers, has to exert herself physically at least twice a day and suck down a saline solution for 20 minutes every time.

She also has to do 10 sets of breathing exercises through a mask to reduce the build-up of thick mucus that causes infections.

Goodwin Performing Arts principal Alison Goodwin has worked with Ella since she was six years old and said it was a no-brainer to cast her in the lead role.

"She's just an amazing child, I give her a song and she'll pick it up and know it by next week," she said. "I can rely on her.

"I wish every student was like her.

"She's very professional at that age and gives herself no excuses. She's just a natural at performing arts.

"I said to her 'by the time you're 15 you'll be qualified as a teacher and you've definitely got a job with me'."

Topics:  cystic fibrosis



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