A LEADING member of the original cast from one of the world's most successful musicals passed on tips to Lakes School pupils as their £30,000 production of Miss Saigon draws near.

Following 2013's rip-roaring success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, talented students from the Troutbeck Bridge school decided this year to perform the tragic love story, which has been seen by more than 40 million people worldwide.

With just over one month until opening night, Claire Moore, who played the role of Ellen for 18 months on the West End, visited the school and spent six hours passing on her expert guidance to the lucky cast of 36. She was invited by the school's head of music Adam Theobald.

"Adam got in touch months ago but now was the perfect time for me to come," said the 54-year-old, from Bolton. "With around one month to go they know all their lines and just need a bit of fine tuning."

Moore, who also starred in the Phantom of the Opera, Camelot and Les Miserables, added: "Everybody thinks singing and performing is just about learning lines and opening your mouth but it's actually pretty scary. Sometimes it's like opening the door to the milkman naked.

"I do a a lot of work with young people and the kind of skills they learn such as discipline, confidence, creativity and bravery are useful in later life."

Miss Saigon, which opened in September 1989, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion a special production has launched at the Prince Edward Theatre in London.

Based on the opera Madame Butterfly, the musical tells the story of an orphaned Vietnamese girl who falls in love with an American GI.

And Mr Theobald was delighted Moore took time out of her busy schedule to visit the cast, who are in the final stages of rehearsal ready for the shows, which will run from November 11-15.

"I remember when I was about ten I saw her in the original so she is a bit of a childhood hero of mine," he said.

"She has a lot of knowledge and experience and is also trained in opera so she worked on their voice coaching as well."

Head girl Natasha Blezard, 17, who is playing the role of Ellen, said: "It is amazing to get some tips from her and to try transfer that on to stage."