Gallery: West End stage beckons for Ormiston Sudbury Academy student Laura Barnard who has caught Andrew Lloyd Webber’s eye
12:00 04 March 2014
It is a path previously trodden by celebrity performers Jessie J, Matt Lucas, Sheridan Smith, Jude Law and Idris Elba.
And now Sudbury student Laura Barnard is hoping to follow in their footsteps after landing the lead role in a National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) production.
The 17-year-old has appeared in a number of productions at Ormiston Sudbury Academy during the past few years, but she admits she was “completely bowled over” to be picked from around 2,000 hopefuls who auditioned to be part of what Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber describes as “the finest youth music theatre in the world”.
Laura, from Glemsford, attended an initial audition day where the 2,000 was whittled down to just 200 who were asked to return for a second try-out.
She said: “It was quite late in the day and I was told most of the parts had already been allocated so I was absolutely shocked when I received an email a few days later offering me the lead role in a new production called BRASS. I thought they’d emailed the wrong person at first - it was unbelievable.”
The production, which has been commissioned to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War, tells the story of a brass band in Leeds whose members go off to fight in the war, leaving the women to perpetuate the band.
Laura has been cast in the lead role of Eliza, which will mean weeks of rehearsals throughout the summer before a final performance at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds this August.
She will also perform one of the songs this Friday at the NYMT’s fundraising event in Pall Mall, London.
Laura added: “It offers such a brilliant opportunity to work with people like director Sara Kestleman who has won an Olivier Award - and to be part of something that has launched the careers of so many distinguished performers.
“It will give me a great head start to have this on my CV and I’m so grateful to my drama teachers at the school for suggesting I take the plunge and audition.”
Last year, Laura played the lead role in Ormiston Sudbury Academy’s version of Wiz.