Where Are They Now?

NYMT Alumni News

In 1593 and 1594 a particularly devastating outbreak of the bubonic plague swept the country and the Privy Council exercised its authority as the queen’s advisors to close all public theatres. Today we are again battling an invisible enemy and our theatres are closed once more. Shortly before the lockdown our founder, Jeremy James Taylor, wrote his annual survey of alumni highlights. It reads so differently now. As ever, though, we’d love to hear from our alumni in all walks of life and to share your stories of the past and the present, so please do keep in touch by emailing [email protected]

JEREMY WALKER

Artistic Director and Producer, NYMT

 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Who would have thought that Harry Potter and King George III would find themselves fighting together in the trenches against the Germans?

As it happens they were on the winning side on two counts. They won a war but also a BAFTA as part of the cast of recent Best Film Award - 1917. Full honours to JAMIE PARKER (1997-80) and MICHAEL JIBSON (1996-99).

As ever the Theatres of the West End and all over the country have been brimming with past NYMT talent onstage, backstage, writing, composing, choreographing, directing as well as on the big silver screens and TV screens. Some are not only winning awards but also presenting them, as GUGU MBATHA RAW (NYMT 1999-2000) and CUSH JUMBO (1997-8) did at the recent Evening Standard Awards. GUGU herself could well be up for any number of awards having been shortlisted for best female newcomer in the Empire Awards for her brilliant current performance in the film MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, as was SOPHIE COOKSON (1999-2000) for KINGSMAN. She and Gugu were best mates together in the NYMT. Sophie also recently played Christine Keeler in the new BBC series THE TRIAL OF CHRISTINE KEELER, while CUSH made a big mark earlier in the year with her performance of HAMLET at The Young Vic. Just along the road at The Old Vic, GLORIA ONITIRI (2000-2002) joined the cast of the wonderful production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL alongside Laurence Olivier award-winning REBECCA TREHEARNE (1996-7) who is soon to open in CITY OF ANGELS in the West End. Just along the South Bank, JORDAN METCALFE (1999-2002) is soon to become a National Theatre performer when he joins the cast of JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN, a new comedy at the Lyttleton Theatre. The Lyttleton also saw HARA YANNAS (1995-7) in THE WELKIN, while her contemporary REBECCA LOCK (1994-7) played the lead in Kander and Ebb’s hilarious musical CURTAINS in a terrifically successful West End run at the Wyndhams. Recently announced was the planned stage tour of a new Cilla Black musical starring SHERIDAN SMITH, OBE (1996-9)

Over the river, another Gloria – GLORIANA OBIANYO (2013-14) appeared in the incredible music theatre smash-hit, GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY at the Gielgud Theatre, while just up the road at the Shaftesbury Theatre BILLY NEVERS (2013-17) went from JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR at the Barbican to join his old mate TIM MAHENDRAN (2012-16), GRACE MOUAT (2016-17), ARUN BLAIR-MANGAT (2008-9) and OLLIE TOMPSETT(1996-7) in the new big West End Theatre Award-winning hit musical & JULIET, which. In SHOW STOPPER, ace improviser ADAM MEGGIDO (1988) displayed his ad-libbing skills as brilliantly as ever at the Lyric Theatre and DELROY ATKINSON (1995-6) finished in the run of THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT at the Garrick. RICHARD(Woody) WOODFORD (1993) and REBECCA RIDOUT (2013) continued NYMT’s link with Andrew Lloyd-Webber in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at His Majesty’s whilst CAMERON BURT (2014-16) took on the role of Sky in MAMMA MIA and ROSS CLIFTON (2015-16) played Joey in the UK/international tour of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.

MATILDA, with PETER DARLING’s (1976-7) stunning choreography danced ever onwards with GINA BECK (1996-9) playing Miss Honey at The Cambridge Theatre before her move to Chichester where she was cast as Nellie opposite JULIAN OVENDEN (1993) playing Emile for Daniel Evans’s new production of SOUTH PACIFIC. Meanwhile her contemporary, NEIL McDERMOTT (1996-8) had just opened in PRETTY WOMAN at the Piccadilly. HAYLEY CANHAM (2014-18) who won an Olivier award for her portrayal of Matilda some years ago, earlier this year wrote, composed, choreographed, directed and played the lead in her new piece MEDEA at her school (Who painted the scenery, Hayley?) while in February at The Dominion Theatre the ever busy ADAM PEARCE opened in the new Stephen Schwartz epic, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, MALINDA PARRIS (1995-7) took to the stage of The Prince Edward in MARY POPPINS and, ever the trouper, MATT LUCAS (1985) returned to the cast of LES MISERABLES at the newly re-named Stephen Sondheim Theatre, gallantly stepping in to replace the sick Gerard Carey. Also waving the tricolore were CLAIRE O’LEARY (2014-16) and JESSICA JOSLIN (2012). In THE LION KING at the Lyceum, BARNABY THOMPSON (1995-8) has been waving the NYMT flag, as has his contemporary MARK WILSHIRE in WAITRESS a few yards away at The Adelphi. There are two flags waving at the Prince of Wales where SEAN PARKINS (1996-8) and PHILLIP CATCHPOLE (1992-5) have been preaching from THE BOOK OF MORMON, and two more at THE MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY where, fresh from her triumphs as Cosette in LES MISERABLES and Laurie in OKLAHOMA! at Chichester, AMARA OKERERE (2012-14) and TIFFANY GRAVES (1992-4) recently had an absolute ball in THE BOYFRIEND.

But current leader of the ‘which show has most NYMT alumni involved?’ must surely be HAMILTON which has three flags flying with JOE GRIFFITHS-BROWN (2016- 8) as swing, ALLYSON AVA BROWN (1997-8) playing Angelica Schuyler and GAVIN SPOKES (1995-8) who has inherited Mike Jibson’s throne and crown and is now playing King George!

Rave reviews greeted performances by NYMT 2012 contemporaries MOLLY LYNCH and OLI HIGGINSON in NYMT patron Jason Robert Brown’s two-hander musical THE LAST FIVE YEARS at Southwark and, for his work on QUEEN OF THE MIST at Jack Studio Theatre/Charing Cross, JORDAN LI-SMITH (2012 and to the present as Musical Director) was awarded an OFFIE for Best Musical Director. Fresh home from the U.S. performing in BECOMING NANCY, LIZZIE BEA (2013) is set to take on the role of Tracey Turnblad in the forthcoming production of HAIRSPRAY at ENO.

Away from London, JAMIE MUSCATO (2006-7) has been winning wonderful reviews for his performance as Tony in Nikolai Foster’s production of WEST SIDE STORY at Leicester Curve and TIM SUTTON (2004-6) has just composed the music for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s touring production of AS YOU LIKE IT. IDRIS ELBA’S (1990-91) hugely imaginative music theatre production TREE moved from THE YOUNG VIC to the Manchester International Festival. (Idris is also right on form playing Mr Mephistopheles in the new film of CATS while TOM CHAMBERS(1990-98), past winner of STRICTLY, has been back on stage touring the UK in DIAL M FOR MURDER.

On the small screen STEPHEN GRAHAM (1990-93) has been a constant presence with THE VIRTUES and LINE OF DUTY, and on the big screen in THE IRISHMAN and ROCKETMAN. It was also good to hear him giving a welcome NYMT plug recently on DESERT ISLAND DISCS. Over Christmas he was excellent as ever in the fascinating new version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL on TV. TOM HOLLANDER (1981-3) has also been as busy as ever with terrific performances in BAPTISTE and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, and his school-fellow friend TOBY JONES (1981-3) has been equally busy, particularly with his highly praised UNCLE VANYA for which he was nominated for the OLIVIER, BEST ACTOR AWARD. Other OLIVIER AWARD nominees included STEWART CLARKE (2010-2012) for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for his portrayal of Perchick in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and MATT COLE for Best Theatre Choreographer, also for FIDDLER at the Playhouse Theatre. LILY JAMES (2006-7) returned to DOWNTON ABBEY and won glowing praise in YESTERDAY while EDDIE REDMAYNE (1999) is still flying high with a top performance in the extraordinary new film THE AERONAUTS. Most of all, huge congratulations to ANYA SEWELL (2018-9) who recently landed the leading role in a new feature film CHILDREN OF LAIR.

To conclude, Chairman of the Friends, JASPER BRITTON (1976) who had been busy playing in SUNSET UNLIMITED at the fabulous new Boulevard Theatre in Soho, is soon to start rehearsals for the lead in HABEUS CORPUS at The Menier Chocolate Factory, and patron MICHAEL JIBSON (1996-99) can currently be seen on fine form in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire scandal drama, QUIZ on ITV.

JEREMY JAMES TAYLOR

NYMT Founder

 

If you have any news or hear news of other past or present NYMT members, please let the NYMT office know for the next edition by emailing [email protected]

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