1st May 2014

Four students from Queen’s College have gained places at the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, whose alumni include Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley, Orlando Bloom, Sir Derek Jacobi, Hugh Bonneville and Matt Lucas.


India Lightwood (14), Katie Theobald (16), James Winter (16) and Hannah McLeod (18), all from Taunton, auditioned and took part in a group workshop in London to gain their highly competitive places.   The students will go onto attend a two-week summer acting course at Trinity Laban to become a full National Youth Theatre members, lasting until they are 25 years of age.

This was a record-breaking year for the National Youth Theatre with the most applications ever being received in its 58 year history.  Nearly 5,000 young people auditioned in 19 locations all over the UK and only 560 students in total were selected.

Said Queen’s College Head of Performing Arts, Steve Eaton Evans:  “This is an almost unheard of achievement for four students to gain places in the National Youth Theatre.  Even good actors often have to audition several times before they gain a place and the training that these students will receive is superb.  I am so proud of them as all of them are really excellent performers in their own right.”


India Lightwood (14)

India is one of the youngest students in the UK to gain a place in the National Youth Theatre this year and was only 13 years old when she auditioned.  India is a member of national musical theatre group, Musical Youth UK, where she played Young Cosette in their production of Les Miserables.  She has also just finished performing in a production of Miss Saigon over Easter in Bristol which will also tour in Manchester and performed My Kind of Sunday in London’s West End last summer.  India has played the Artful Dodger in Oliver, Toad in Wind in the Willows and is playing the Narrator in the Queen’s College production of Joseph next month -May 2014.  She is a Grade 7 clarinettist and pianist and Grade 6 singer. India has been awarded both Performing Arts and Best Actress Awards and is a Performing Arts and Music Scholar at Queen’s College.


Katie Theobald (15)

Katie has been a member of Make Performing Arts Theatre Company for the past eight years.  She will be performing with them at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August following a performance at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton and undertaking a SW tour.  A Performing Arts and Art scholar at Queen’s College with a distinction in Grade 8 Performing Arts, Katie has been awarded the Excellence in the Arts Award twice and last year received the school’s Gloria Evemy prize for Drama in Year 9.  Katie has appeared in productions including the Wizard of Oz and The Jungle Book with notable roles such as the Innkeeper’s Wife in Dracula Spectacular and played Mrs Channing, an 82 year old woman, in The Escape Committee. Katie, who is currently studying GCSE Drama, has also performed with Youth Music Theatre UK in their production of Le Tabou at the Barbican last summer and she will also be performing at the Rose Theatre, London in Terry Pratchett’s Soul Music.


Hannah McLeod (18)

Hannah has performed in two National Theatre Connections projects and appeared as the Goddess Juno in a new play based on Greek mythology with Youth Music Theatre UK.  A Grade 8 singer, Hannah is studying Performance Studies at A Level and has performed in every school production since she joined Queen’s College in Year 1 with roles as diverse as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Kath Casey in Our House and Phyllis in The Escape Committee – a new play by Steve Eaton Evans which premiered last year.  She has just put together Night at the Musicals with other Queen’s College students where she performed two songs from Sweeny Todd and aims to pursue a career in acting, writing and directing.


James Winter (17)

James has performed every year playing a solider in the Wizard of Oz, Shere Khan in the Jungle Book, a Judge in Our House and a Nazi General in The Escape Committee.  Both his parents are actors and he is a Performing Arts scholar at Queen’s College.  James is currently taking GCSE Drama and will be studying A Level Performance Studies next year as he hopes to go onto Drama School.  His audition piece for the National Youth Theatre was playing ‘Baby’ from Mojo.



Queen’s College is one of the top schools in the country for performing arts.  As well as major school productions every term, students at the school can study seven different types of dance, perform in the local community and take productions on tour.  Performing Arts can also be studied as an academic subject up to A Level.  The school also runs a professional 10-day arts festival, the Quartz Festival, every year.


The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain is a world-leading arts organisation established in 1956 as the first youth theatre in the world.  Over the past 58 years, it has nurtured the talent of hundreds of thousands of young people.  Designed to inspire, train and showcase exceptional performers and theatre technicians aged 14-25, NYT showcases young talent on West End stages, in stadiums world-wide and at iconic sites both home and abroad.


Issued on behalf of Queen’s College.  For more information please contact Henrietta Lightwood at

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