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Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year


Venue: Garrick Theatre

Date: 17 May

Host: Michael Xavier

Opening number: "Prologos: Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" (The Frogs)

Guest performers: Elaine Paige, Corrine Priest, Simon Thomas

Winner: Erin Doherty (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School)

Runner-up: Leah West (Arts Ed)

Best New Song: "Don’t Look Down" by Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay (performed by Grant McConvey)

Erin Doherty of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School took home the £1,000 prize in this year's Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year award for her rendition of "Broadway Baby" from Follies and Darren Clark's "The Angel At the Top of the Tree". Runner up was Arts Ed's Leah West, for "I Read" from Passion and "Love Me", from a new folk musical by Laura Kaye Thomson.

The winner of the Stiles + Drewe Prize for Best New Song went to Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for "Don't Look Down", from their musical The Superhero, about a dad trying to impress his kids during a Fathers 4 Justice demonstration.

The Student Performer of the Year Finalists (in order of performance)

Emily Onsloe is in her final year at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama studying with professor Susan McCulloch. Recently, Emily was the soloist at the opening concert for the Brentwood Arts Festival in Elgar’s Spirit of England conducted by Andrew Wright. She played Countess in a abridged version of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro directed by Sally Burgess, Woman 1 in Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World at the Silk Street Theatre, Barbican, and was in the opera chorus for Dvorak’s The Cunning Peasant directed by Stephen Medcalf. Other highlights include singing with her quartet for Louis Vuitton stores throughout London and performing as a guest soloist at The Savoy Theatre for the Jack Petchy foundation, directed by Michael Fentiman. Emily would like to thank SSSSPOTY and GSMD for such a wonderful opportunity!

Sondheim: “Not A Day Goes By” (Merrily We Roll Along)

BNS: “Ambition” by Mary Stewart David & Clive Chang

Ewan Black is from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and is nearing the end of his three years training at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His Credits include Theatre: The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Salerio in The Merchant of Venice, Patrick in Treats (Tabacco Factory, Brewery), Orsino in Twelfth Night, Judas in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, both Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors (TIE Tour and Edinburgh Fringe Transfer, with Assembly), Rèdillon in Sauce for the Goose (West Country Tour) and Coll in Starry Night (Schools Tour). Radio: Nicholas in Blood at the Bridal Shop, Guard in Jefferson 37 and Tony in The Incident. Television/Film: Sam in The Shooting Party and voice over/narrative for BBC ONE’S Country File. He is thrilled to be taking part in this fantastic competition among such talented performers.

Sondheim: “Being Alive” (Company)

BNS: “Haus Potsdam” by Alex Young & Kate Marlais

Lydia White is currently studying for her A Levels at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge. Every Sunday she trains at West End Masterclass (WEM), where she pursues her passion for performing and prepares for a successful career in Musical Theatre. Credits include: WEM representative at Kerrigan & Lowdermilk Masterclass 2014; WEM Ensemble WEST END LIVE 2014; Solo Voice, Ariadne, Britten Sinfonia, Cultural Olympiad; Acoustic set of own compositions, Cambridge Strawberry Fair.  College: Mrs Pankhurst/Ensemble in Oh What A Lovely War; A in Crave (Excerpt); Prioress in Love & Other Fairytales. Lydia loves the work of Stephen Sondheim. She would like to thank The Stephen Sondheim Society for this amazing opportunity and her tutors at WEM for their inspirational training and support.

Sondheim: “Loving You" (Passion)

BNS: “One Man” by Nick Butcher & Michael Matus

Luke Farrugia is a final year student on the BA (Hons) Acting Musical Theatre course at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He hails from the sunny island of Malta. Roles while in training include: Mr Medley in The Man Of Mode; Pepe in West Side Story; Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Simon in Hay Fever; Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd. Luke is thrilled to be taking part in the SSSSPOTY final 2015.
Sondheim: “Free” (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)

BNS: “A Bigger Smile” by Tim Gilvin

Charlotte Vaughan grew up in Porthcawl, South Wales, and is currently studying Musical Theatre at The Royal Academy of Music. Previous to RAM, Charlotte completed a four-year undergraduate degree as a classical soprano at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Credits while training include Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins, Alice in Closer and at GSMD, Mrs Herring in Albert Herring (abridged). Earlier this month, Charlotte performed as a guest soloist at The Royal Albert Hall in The Welsh Association Of Male Voice Choirs Albert Hall Festival.

Sondheim: “The Miller's Son” (A Little Night Music)

BNS: “You’re Better Off Loving Yourself” by Danny Davies

Leah West (runner up) is currently in her 3rd year at the Arts Educational Schools London, where she performed the role of Morticia Addams in Andrew Lippa’s The Addams Family. Leah was a soloist for BBC radio 2 Friday Night Is Music Night, where she had the privilege of singing the Disney classic “Let It Go” with the BBC concert orchestra. Leah is thrilled to be representing her college in the SSSSPOTY awards, and is excited to be performing and supporting new writing.

Sondheim: “I Read” (Passion)

BNS: “Love Me” by Laura Kaye Thomson

Corey Jones is studying his final year of a musical theatre degree from the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, and hopes to study a masters degree after graduating. Previous roles include Guido in Nine, Darryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick and Paul in A Chorus Line. He is a huge Sondheim fan and is honoured to be through to the finals of the competition! He wishes all the other finalists the best of luck and hopes you enjoy the show! 

Sondheim: “Could I Leave You?” (Follies)

BNS: “Far From Heaven” by Kate Ingber & Emily Rose Simons

Erin Doherty (winner) is currently in her final year of three at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She has just completed a run of The Heresy of Love by Helen Edmundson, directed by Jenny Stephens at the Bristol Old Vic, playing Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz. Other recent roles include: Madame de Pontagnac in Sauce for the Goose (West Country Tour), Adriana in The Comedy of Errors (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014), Viola in Twelfth Night and Sonya in Uncle Vanya. Erin is from Crawley; before coming to Bristol, she trained for a year at Guildford School of Acting. 

Sondheim: “Broadway Baby” (Follies)

BNS: "The Angel At The Top of the Tree” by Darren Clark

Nick Shirm grew up in Barnet, North London, and is currently in his final year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Nick started his performing career at a young age in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium) and with pre-production work on Billy Elliot. Nick then featured as Zacharias Smith in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film and video games. In 2008, Nick became a member of the National Youth Musical Theatre, who he performed with for three years before beginning his training at the Guildhall School. Most recently Nick performed in Songs for a New World as Man 1 and is now happy to be joining the Gareth Malone Voices tour this summer. He feels privileged to be part of The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition.

Sondheim: “Finishing the Hat” (Sunday in the Park with George)

BNS: “Princess In My Room” by Marc Folan & Adey Grummet

Amy Bridges is originally from Bridgend in South Wales, and is currently in her final year at The MTA. Roles at college have included Salathiel Trenannigan in Ting Tang Mine directed by Tilly Vosburgh, Lauren in Just the Ticket directed by Simon Greiff, and was in the ensemble for Just So directed by Christian Durham. Most recently she was a featured soloist in Something Old, Something New directed by Cressida Carre. She has also appeared in Cool Rider Live in the West End, and was a featured dancer in the music video “La Cerisaie”. Amy wishes good luck to all participants in both the Student and New Writing parts of the competition.

Sondheim: “More” (Dick Tracy)

BNS: “Look At Me” by Eamonn O’Dwyer

Grant McConvey was born in Stirling in Stirlingshire, Central Scotland, and is currently in his Third Year at the Guildford School of Acting on the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre Course. Roles while training include Gomez Addams in The Addams Family (Third Year), Bernardo in West Side Story, The Caretaker in The Other School, Polixenes and Florizel in The Winter’s Tale (Second Year) and Sir John Tremayne in Me and My Girl (First Year).
Sondheim: “No More” (Into The Woods)

BNS: “Don’t Look Down” by Richy Hughes & Joseph Finlay (winner)

Natalie Thorn is originally from Southampton and is currently in her second year at Performance Preparation Academy (PPA) in Guildford, on the Musical Theatre Diploma. Credits while training include Lizzie Curry in 110 in the Shade and the world première of The Legend of Notre Dame (music and lyrics by Edward Court) at the London Theatre Workshop in Fulham last October. A big lover of Sondheim ‘s work, Natalie is delighted to be representing PPA as a SSSSPOTY finalist and to be performing at the Garrick Theatre. She would like to thank the Sondheim Society for the incredible opportunity, and her family, friends and tutors for all their support. 

Sondheim: “See What It Gets You” (Anyone Can Whistle)

BNS: “Don’t Forget Me” by Spencer & Shenelle Williams


Student Performer of the Year: Edward Seckerson (Chair), Julia McKenzie, Elaine Paige, Laura Pitt Pulford, John Wilson and Jamie Lloyd

Stiles+Drewe Prize for Best New Song: Pippa Cleary, Jake Brunger, George Stiles & Anthony Drewe

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