BUDDING young performers had an amazing surprise when a pop superstar dropped in to see them at the weekend.

Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle made a secret visit to Somerstage Musical Theatre School, based at The McMillan Theatre in Bridgwater.

She watched the children perform three routines from their recent showcase production.

They then had the chance to ask her questions about her career.

Nadine became Somerstage’s patron last September and this was her first appearance at the theatre school, which teaches dance, acting and singing to children aged from four to 18.

After watching excerpts from Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and Legally Blonde, Nadine said she was extremely impressed by the talent and commitment on display and remarked that she hadn't expected such a high standard of performance.

Nadine spent an hour with the children before heading to Bristol to perform at the Pride festival accompanied by her assistant tour manager and Somerstage head of dance Dean Brammall.

The singer, 38, shot to fame in 2002 as one of the five members of the pop group, Girls Aloud.

Alongside her fellow band members, she achieved 20 consecutive UK top ten singles, five platinum-selling albums and received nominations for five BRIT awards, winning Best Single for ‘The Promise’ in 2009. She has also released her own solo album.

Somerstage founder Lisa Bonser said: “We’re really thrilled that Nadine was able to pop in and meet everyone.

"We told the children we had a special guest coming to see us, but we kept it secret who it was, so they were very excited.

"She was blown away by their performance and her chat with them afterwards was really inspiring. We hope she’ll be back to see one of our shows very soon.”

Somerstage holds workshops every Saturday at The McMillan Theatre, Bridgwater, and runs musical theatre workshops in every major school holiday.

The teaching staff are all industry professionals with vast experience in the West End, touring music and theatre, and television.

Their next production will be ‘The SpongeBob Musical - Youth Edition’, which takes place on March 22 and 23 next year.

For more information visit www.somerstage.co.uk