Hartlepool students set for top UK stage school ahead of college swansong

Louis Wood, left, and James Wilkinson-Jones in rehearsals.
Louis Wood, left, and James Wilkinson-Jones in rehearsals.

Budding West End stars from Hartlepool have won a place at one of the UK’s top stage schools.

Louis Wood and James Wilkinson-Jones, both 18, have secured places at Arts Educational Schools London.

Louis Wood as Jesus.

Louis Wood as Jesus.

It comes as they prepare to make their final college performance as the lead roles of Jesus and Judas in Stockton Riverside College’s summer show, Jesus Christ Superstar.

They will be part of a 40-strong cast bringing the famous musical to life at the college’s Margaret Armstrong Theatre.

Louis said: “I can’t wait.

“It has been challenging because this role is different to anything I have played before but I am over the moon about it.

I can’t wait

Louis Wood

“Rehearsals have been full on.

“We haven’t stopped singing and it has been quite emotional because you really get into the character.”

James said: “It is probably one of the hardest roles I have ever come across in musical theatre.

“Emotionally it is really intense and when it comes to the singing it is vocal gymnastics, but it is a lot of fun.”

Louis Wood in rehearsals.

Louis Wood in rehearsals.

Louis and James are among many of the college’s students who are moving on to stage schools across the country after two years of hard work.

In their final performance at the college, they will perform to a live band, including Wildcats of Kilkenny frontman Mike McGrother, who is taking a lead as musical director.

Sara Durkin, Stockton Riverside College’s musical theatre course leader and show director, said: “This is such a powerful show that is incredibly demanding on our students.

“It is a rock opera which means it is all singing, but with rehearsals going strong we know our students can deliver.”

To perform alongside a live band will raise the bar to another level for the students.

“It is an amazing opportunity and one that even professional performers don’t usually get until much further into their careers.”

Former Stockton Riverside College performing arts students Ross Hunter – who is now a West End stage performer – and Daniel Todd – a choreographer – have delivered masterclasses at the college to prepare the students.

Tickets for the show – which is on between Tuesday and Saturday can be bought from the college or by visiting www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/FFHELL