THE future looks bright for young Leah Carter, nominated for performer of the year in the 2012 Flybe Pride in Mann awards.
The former St Ninian’s student recently completed her GCSEs, and a move to a prestigious London performance school beckons.
Father Philip Carter, who nominated her, said: ‘She’s now 16, she’s been doing drama and musical theatre since she was eight. We’ve nominated her because of what she has achieved through her hard work over the years, and her fantastic attitude for someone so young.’
Leah started out at the Stage One school, and lead roles have included playing Blousey in Bugsy Malone at the Gaiety Theatre in December last year.
Leah was the youngest ever winner of Young Actor of Mann in 2010 when she was aged 13, and when she scooped the same award in 2011 she became the first person to have won it twice.
‘They asked her not to go in it this year!’ laughed Philip.
The competition prize in 2011 however was a two-day taste of the Arts Educational Schools in London – the same school attended by Samantha Barks when she first left the island – an experience which convinced Leah that was the path she wanted to take.
Coupled with the advice and recommendations from more experienced dramatical types, it led Leah to audition for the prestigious school.
It is a notoriously difficult school to gain acceptance for, with only a handful of spaces available for the musical theatre programme Leah hoped to be a part of. The tough trial process involved a written exam, singing audition and drama and monologue pieces based on Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.
Leah came through it all successfully though, helped with advice from Samantha Barks. Providing her GCSE results are up to the entry standard, Leah will begin her musical theatre BTEC (equivalent to three A levels) in September, as well as two other A Level subjects.
‘I’m just gobsmacked by her maturity,’ said Philip. ‘She’s constantly surprised us with the high standards she sets herself and achieves.’
Philip’s own background is as a professional musician, so in some aspects of performing from stage Leah is a chip off the old block, but father and mother admit they are no theatre buffs.
‘We were never into theatre until Leah got involved,’ said Philip. ‘She’s educated us really. We see the hard work she puts in which gives you a new perspective on the whole scene.’
He added: ‘She has never talked about film or TV, it has always been about the stage. Out of all the musical theatre skills, acting is her strongest, though she is a very good singer and dancer too.’
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