Ariel pair selected for coveted festival roles

Steyning student William Carey has won a coveted place in The Ragged Child Picture: Stephen Candy Photography
Steyning student William Carey has won a coveted place in The Ragged Child Picture: Stephen Candy Photography

A STEYNING student has won a coveted place with the National Youth Musical Theatre.

William Carey, 17, who is studying A-levels at Steyning Grammar School, will appear in the production of The Ragged Child, as part of the renowned International Youth Arts Festival.

He will be joined by fellow Ariel Company Theatre student Tara Lucas, 18, from Horsham, for performances at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, from July 22 to 26.

Ariel director Nicci Hopson said: “We are so proud of Tara and Will’s achievements, they both live and breathe theatre.

“The competition for places at NYMT is fierce and they were up against hundreds of other performers, so this achievement should not be underestimated.

“Everyone at Ariel is delighted for them and we send them all our best wishes for The Ragged Child.”

The NYMT, founded in 1976, provides the chance for talented young people to work with theatre industry professionals on workshops, master classes and residential courses.

It has contributed to the development of many well-known actors’ careers, including Jude Law, Sheridan Smith, Eddie Redmayne and Ariel’s patron, Nigel Harman.

The Ragged Child, which won the coveted Edinburgh Fringe Festival Award, is a stark and moving account of child deprivation in London in the 1850s.

The story is about the plight of the poor and destitute, mirrored in the tragic lives of Joe Cooper and his sister Annie, before Lord Shaftesbury fights for the education of the poor and starts the Ragged Schools.

Ariel has five drama academies, including those at Steyning and Worthing, and the pair have attended the one in Burgess Hill for several years.

Tara, from Horsham, and William, from Partridge Green, have been growing and honing their talents as they have progressed through the academy.

They played the lead roles in Ariel’s production of Miss Saigon in March and then musically directed the company’s entries in the Sport Relief Does Glee Club 2014 competition.

William worked with the boys’ group, React, and Tara helped the girls’ group, Abstract, which included Steyning Grammar School students Annabel Hooper and Leanne Bodis, both 15.

The girls group went on to reach the top five in the country and competed live on BBC television in the semi-final on March 20, scored on audience votes.

Mrs Hopson said: “I choreographed the performances and I allowed Will and Tara to musically direct the Sport Relief Glee teams, and we did amazingly well in the competition.”

William will become a support tutor for the Burgess Hill Ariel Drama Academy from September, while Tara has been offered a place at the respected Guildford School of Acting.