Saffron Walden youngster is best young performer at National Operatic and Dramatic Association district awards

Florence Russell as Annie Florence Russell as Annie

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
5:00 PM

A TALENTED teenager actor has been named ‘Best Young Performer’ at a prestigious awards ceremony.

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Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company Youth Group’s Florence Russell, 15, scooped the award from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association for her lead role in the company’s production of Annie.

County High student Florence’s triumph was one of five awards picked up by youth theatre group, which swept the board at the ceremony held on St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

The company won four further awards for their production of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Sweeney Todd, which was named Best Overall Production, Best Musical, Best Youth Group Production and Best Technical Production.

Director Matthew Chancellor said; “We are all so proud of Florence’s achievement. She certainly deserved it. And we were thrilled to pick up so many awards.

“We were pleased just to be nominated but to come away with five awards was incredible.

“The youngsters involved worked so hard and are so talented but it’s a real team effort and we have the most amazing musicians, technical team, and back-stage crew involved in our productions. It is fantastic that everyone’s hard work has been recognised in this way.”

The company has a long tradition of nurturing the stars of tomorrow. Former members include James Gant, who is currently understudying the role of Javert in the West End production of Les Miserables, and Sam Smith, who has just enjoyed a number one singles hit with the pop duo Naughty Boy.

SWMTC Youth Group’s next show will be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera at Saffron Walden Town Hall in November. Auditions and rehearsals have not yet begun for the show and the company are looking for young people who would like to be involved and enjoy singing and acting. If you are aged 11-18, and would like further details, contact chairman Fiona Wilson Waterworth on fiona@parkerdavies.com; or 07799 628977.

In the meantime, the company is presenting a ‘Summer Gala Concert of Songs from the Shows’ at Great Chesterford village hall at 7.30pm on July 6. Tickets, £10, can be bought on the door or in advance from awilson@westessexmind.org.uk.

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