Lamont Casting Agency

Lucas clinches top training opportunity in London!

Congratulations to Lucas Frost for securing a place at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Drama in London to study for a BA Hons Degree in Musical Theatre.

The very talented Lucas Frost

Lucas has produced some incredible work whilst at Lamont Drama. Said Mrs. Lamont: “Lucas is a truly instinctive actor who is absolutely brimming with great ideas.

“He won lots of awards for his roles in local musical theatre productions and was always a force to be reckoned with when performing improvisations in the Saturday Speech and Drama classes with Lamont. I am still getting people mentioning to me how amazing he was as Miss Trunchball from Matilda. It was certainly one of my favourite acting pieces from the last few years. So, Lucas bring all the energy you displayed as Miss Trunchball to your new adventure! You will knock ‘em dead with your talent – but above all, enjoy!”

 

California, Here I Come!

Skype teaching at Lamont Drama is going from Strength to Strength!

Up until a few weeks ago, Lamont Drama was reaching various pupils around the UK having first taught by skype several years ago to the Gie family in Cyprus. They have since moved to London, so their lessons are continuing remotely in the Capital alongside pupils in Manchester, Liverpool and the Wirral!

However, this week, Mrs Lamont carried out her first lesson in California!

10-year-old Amélie Henderson joined the school this week. Amélie is the daughter of Brit Nick Henderson, who is a former Lamont Drama pupil from the 80s!

He said: “Despite this very challenging situation we find ourselves in, I would like Amélie to start lessons with you. I realize the time difference may be tricky (minus 8 hours) but I thought I would ask all the same. Personally, your lessons gave me amazing opportunities in life and I’d love for Amélie to benefit from your incredible guidance and expertise”.

Proud Dad Nick with 10-year-old Amélie.

Mrs Lamont was both touched and excited from hearing from Nick after all these years and Amélie’s first lesson was a big hit! She is studying with Mrs Lamont for her first LAMDA exam. Amélie’s eight-year-old cousin Martha has been enjoying great success as a Lamont pupil in both her LAMDA exams, in festivals and as a member of the Lamont Casting Agency, so will be able to give her a few tips. Martha’s mum, Catherine Last is a fabulous singing teacher in Formby and she is also teaching Amélie.

Nick adds, “Amélie adores singing and performing. She can also flip backwards and forwards seamlessly between British and American accents!”

Said Mrs Lamont: “ Catherine and Nick both have a special place in my heart and I was very sad when their lessons came to an end so it is really great to be able to teach Martha and Amelie – the next generation of extremely talented Hendersons. So, a perfect addition to the Lamont Drama School! Well done Amélie and welcome!”

Ray of Sunshine at Lamont Drama amidst Coronavirus Gloom!

Lamont Drama is celebrating a hat trick of successes with the news that three senior pupils have been selected as members of the prestigious National Youth Theatre. They will be doing their two-week course for NYT members on-line over the Summer.

Joe Houghton, who attends St. Mary’s School in Crosby, started his Lamont journey at the age of 6 – following in the footsteps of big sisters Lucy and Jessica, who attended the school for many years. He achieved Distinction for his Grade 8 acting and is currently assistant teacher at Lamont Drama on a Saturday.

The very talented and much-loved Joe Houghton!

Lucas Jackson started at Lamont at age of 6. His big sister Amy already attended.  He excelled in all his exams culminating in attaining Distinction for his Grade 8 acting.

Couldn’t be prouder of the one and only Lucas Jackson!

Ellis Coulter, who attends LIPA sixth form, achieved Distinction for his Grade 7 Acting. He also featured in an episode of Hollyoaks at the beginning of this year. He joined as a teenager and has won many prizes in festivals for his acting.

Super talented Ellis Coulter is a star in the making!

Said Mrs Lamont, “I am so proud of all three boys. They are not only a very talented bunch but are also all a delight to be around. Joe, who assists me on a Saturday, is extremely popular with all the pupils and we are looking forward to re-commencing our classes in September and hearing about their NYT experiences. I’m sure Joe will bring back lots of great NYT ideas that will benefit our younger pupils.

“It’s such a tough audition process to get into the National Youth Theatre that I would have been delighted to receive news that one pupil had got in! Hearing that three had made the grade was just unbelievably good news! My own nephew Rory, who was lucky enough to become a NYT member just a few years ago attributes securing his top job in finance in Canary Wharf to his NYT credit and experience. So whether you become the next James Bond like Daniel Craig or follow a path outside of performance, the NYT can help you realise your dreams. I wish Joe, Lucas and Ellis all the very best for this next great adventure in their drama journey. So proud of you all, boys!”

 

Ever the comedian – Lucas Jackson celebrates becoming an NYT member!

 

Go Grace!

Many congratulations to Grace Wingate. The 15-year-old Lamont student has been accepted on the Musical Theatre Course at LIPA.

Talent runs in the family! She will join her brother Harry who is on the Music course. Grace is just about to embark on her Grade 8 Gold Medal LAMDA examination. Good luck Grace for both!

 

 

Our Simon back on TV!

 

 

Former Lamont Drama pupil and Lamont Drama Assistant Teacher Simon Lennon returns to our screens this week in the hit BBC TV series ‘Our Girl’.

 

Simon has played the part of Private Harry ‘Brains’ Wiggerty since it first hit our screens as a pilot in 2013. In 2014, it returned as a series with Michelle Keegan in the lead role. Written by award-winning writer Tony Grounds, ‘Our Girl’ returns for its fourth series with six new episodes in March 2020.

Outside of his own work on programmes like Grantchester and The Dark Room, Simon is a leading light in the National Youth Theatre and now produces and directs for the prestigious organisation.

 

Simon Lennon stars as ‘Brains’

 

100% Distinctions for Lamont LAMDA pupils!

 

LAMDA RESULTS FEBRUARY 2020

The latest results are in and all pupils who took their exam in February at our own centre achieved Distinction!

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Verse and Prose

Entry

Gadowl Oyedeji

Grade 1

Aakash Muraleetharan

Grade 3

Josh Sikdar, Akshaara Muraleetharan

Grade 5

Vaishali Ilanko, Jemima Brooks, Verity Clark

Grade 6

Evie Clark

Grade 7

Varshaa Premakantha, Catarina Cardeira

Congratulations to you all!

Sefton Festival Goes Ahead!

Sefton Festival went ahead and proved a great success! LAMDA adjudicator Louise Blackwell praised the high standards of the festival before presenting the festival’s Challenge Trophies to Martha Last (Junior) and Jasmine McElhinney. They achieved the highest winners’ marks across verse speaking, prose reading and solo acting.

Compertitors with Martha Last – Junior Challenge Trophy winner!

 

 

Competitors with Jasmine McElhinney – Senior Challenge Trophy winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Said Mrs Lamont:” All pupils performed brilliantly at Sefton festival. It’s a great venue offering fantastic stage facilities to show off their many talents. A special mention for Martha and Jasmine who each excelled across the three disciplines of verse speaking, prose reading and solo acting”.

Solo acting – Year 3 & 4

The festival was made even more special for performers as the 2020 Wirral Festival (which should have been held the following weekend) had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

Solo acting – Years 5 & 6

The results are as follows:-

Verse Speaking

Year 1-3

1st Martha Last  2nd  Joseph Edwards

Year 4

1st Grace Hayes  2nd  Lois Cringle  3rd  Esme Goatcher and Freddie Thomason

Year 5/6

1st  Verity Clark  2nd  Olivia Hall 3rd Pip Charnley and Serafina Campolucci-Bordi

Year 7-9

1st Jasmine McElhinney  2nd Orlando Campolucci-Bordi  3rd  Jemima Brooks and Evie Clark

Prose Reading

Year 6 and Under

1st  Martha Last  2nd Verity Clark  3rd  Grace Hayes

Year 7-9

1st  Evie Clark  2nd  Orlando Campolucci-Bordi  3rd Jasmine McElhinney

Solo Acting

Year 3/4

1st Martha Last  2nd  Freddie Thomason  3rd  Lois Cringle

Year 5/6

1st  Verity Clark  2nd  Serafina Campolucci-Bordi  3rd  Olivia Hall

Year 7-9

1st  Jasmine McElhinney  2nd  Orlando Campolucci-Bordi  3rd  Jemima Brooks and Evie Clark

 Duologues

Year 6 and Under

1st  Freddie Thomason and Martha Last

Year 7-9

1st  Evie and Verity Clark  2nd  Serafina and Orlando Campolucci-Bordi

Junior duologues winners Freddie and Martha!

Wow! Rave Reviews for Isla Gie as first-ever UK Cindy Lou Who

Eight-year-old Isla’s success story continues as she tours the country as the first-ever UK Cindy Lou Who in Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.

Isla has completed her run in London and Edinburgh and is now in Birmingham performing to standing ovations.

The incredible cast led by the amazing Edward Baker-Duly as The Grinch, the show and Isla’s role in it have been a huge hit with audiences and the theatre critics who are saying :-

“Equally impressive – some might say more so because of her age – is one of four rotating Cindy Lous (Isla Gie) whose pint-sized demeanour and powerhouse of a performance is straight out of the Shirley Temple school of acting. A pivotal role which she nails with aplomb” (Review Sphere).

“Now let it be said, quite often child-performers are something to dread. Then one comes along with exceptional ability. Young rising start Isla Gie captures the pathos of the narrative and holds her vocals splendidly” (The Reviews Hub).

“The challenging role of Cindy Lou pulled off by Isla Gie with aplomb” (Edinburgh Guide).

“Isla Gie, the 8-year-old who played little Cindy Lou was absolutely amazing! (Edinburgh Tourist).

“Performance wise the star of the show must go to young Isla Gie in the role of Cindy Lou Who for a girl so young to have such a big voice, stage presence and performance ability is stunning and she is joy to watch on stage” (Scots Arts).

Special mention should be made of Isla Gie. The Grinch in me hates to use the word ‘adorable,’ but after some consideration, I really can’t think of a more appropriate one, and Gie comes dangerously close to walking off with the entire show” (Bouquets and Brickbats).

However, for me, star performer of the night was Isla Gie as Cindy Lou Who. Having taken roles in Les Miserables and this production, and carrying them off with the maturity and talent she did this evening – bearing in mind she isn’t even ten years old yet – is simply mind blowing. Mark my words; Gie will be a huge star in years to come because her performance this evening was simply world class” (Black Country Radio).

“Gie lit up the auditorium with her natural stage presence and beautiful charm. She didn’t just melt the Grinch’s heart but she melted the hearts of the Birmingham audience with one of the biggest cheers of the night for her performance of Santa for a Day” (Theatretastic).

The scene stealing star performer is the amazing Isla Gie as Cyndy Lou, a little whirlwind who steals the heart of the audience in her interactions with The Grinch. She is as cutesy and sugar sweet as the role requires and just nails it”(Fashion Mommy’s Blog).

There are four young girls playing Cindy Lou Who – on press night we witnessed the amazing talents of Isla Gie – not just a star in the making but one that has arrived. At just nine years old she has already toured the UK in Les Miserables and now this, where the entire audience took her heartstring tugging performance into their hearts” (Bromsgrove Standard).

The runaway star of the night, however, was little Isla Gie in the role of adorable Cindy Lou Who. Without missing a beat, her level of exceptional performance skill and maturity far exceeded her years and she absolutely owned the stage throughout, deservedly receiving the biggest reception of the night from the audience” (Suzie Speaks.com)

My favourite Who character was the adorable Cindy Lou Who, played by the extremely talented young Isla Gie, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t hear her name a lot in the future. She is an incredible talent for someone so young and she really stole the show when she sang, especially the song she sang with the Grinch in her house. For a young child to remember all those lines, choreography and perform in such a way that the audience believes that she is Cindy Lou Who, then you know what an incredible talent she is” (Whatsgoodtodo.com).

The Grinch has some great lines and asides, my favourite comes as Cincy Lou Who, the tiny tot who finds him pretending to be Santa, melts his icy heart just a fraction, holds his hand and starts to sing Santa For A Day leaving the Grinch desperately fighting off sentimentality and despairing “Oh no, it’s a ballad”. A real musical theatre joke.  Cindy Lou, incidentally, is played by one of four youngsters with eight-year-old Isla Gie in the role on Press night, and quite brilliant she was too. A voice clear as a bell, hitting every note with ease and showing all the pathos and emotion the role demands. A young lady and a name to look out for” (Behind the Arras.com).

The amazing cast really managed to bring children’s book characters to life for this show but for as wonderful as the Grinch was, it was last night’s Cindy Lou (Isla Gie) who was the absolute star of the evening. What an unforgettable performance from one so young! I’m pretty sure that one day I will point to her and say “I saw her acting as a child, she was magnificent”. The character of Cindy Lou is played by a different child each night, last night Isla reduced me to tears when she was singing to the Grinch, and I wasn’t alone, the man in front of me was crying too” (Brumhour).

WELL DONE ISLA and GOOD LUCK for your 4-week run at the LOWRY, SALFORD QUAYS, MANCHESTER!

Isla will appear at the Lowry’s PRESS GALA NIGHT on December 12th. Exciting!!!!!! Keep enjoying your Cindy Lou Who adventure, Isla! Booyah!

Isla Gie is Cindy Lou at the London opening of the UK Tour!

Congratulations to 8-year-old Isla Gie who successfully opened and closed the London run of the first-ever UK Tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Isla and the cast opening in London – Isla is centre stage next to the The Grinch played by the brilliantly funny Edward Baker-Duly

At a special reception at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London, Isla had the honour of meeting esteemed American playwright Timothy Mason who wrote the book and lyrics for the original Broadway musical, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! In 2006.

Isla, sharing the stage with the brilliant Edward Baker-Duly as The Grinch, was delighted to receive standing ovations from the sold-out final night in London.

The Whos and the Grinch become friends and Isla receives an extra special hug from the Grinch himself inside the Christmas wreath!

Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas”, Max the Dog narrates the show, as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is ‘two sizes too small’, decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday loving Whos.

Isla is excited to perform with TV and film star Gregor Fisher in Edinburgh

Magnificent sets designed by John Lee Beatty and costumes designed by Robert Morgan are inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations and help to transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville, and to conjure the true meaning of Christmas. The production is based on the show originally created by Tony Award winning director, Jack O’Brien and choreographer John DeLuca. The show broke box office records for two consecutive years on Broadway. Since then, more than 2 million people across America have been thrilled by this heart-warming musical.

Says Mrs Lamont: “I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening of the UK Tour at the New Wimbledon Theatre. It was simply sensational. The cast is superb, and Isla sparkled as the first-ever UK Cindy Lou”.

Isla said: “It was really good fun getting to know the choreography and the cast in the three weeks of rehearsals in London and now that the shows have started it’s even better. I feel very lucky to be playing Cindy Lou. It’s such a colourful, happy show with lots of big dance numbers. My favourite moment is singing ‘Santa for a Day’ to the Grinch because that helps him grow a bigger heart.”

Griff Rhys Jones joins the show for Cardiff and for the main Christmas run in Salford.

The show visits Cardiff, Edinburgh and Birmingham in November and December, ahead of a its 4-week Christmas season at The Lowry in Salford starting on Tuesday 10th  December 2019. Isla is performing in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Salford. She has been given the honour of  performing on Press Night at the Lowry. She is also very excited to be performing in shows on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Go Isla and all the cast for an enjoyable and successful UK Tour!

 

Tori Receives Sensational Reviews!

Former assistant teacher at Lamont Drama Tori Hargreaves is lighting up the professional stage once more in Soho Cinders, a deliciously naughty musical update of the Cinderella story.

The gorgeous Tori Hargreaves

The musical is based around impoverished student Robbie who becomes romantically involved with engaged London Mayoral candidate James Prince. James and Robbie’s worlds collide, forcing them to fight for their own fairy-tale ending. Celebrating London’s most colourful district and mixing politics, sex-scandals and true love, Soho Cinders has an infectious score that you’ll be humming long past the stroke of midnight! The music is by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.

Tori, who was a pupil at Lamont Drama before being made an assistant teacher, plays Marilyn Platt, James Prince’s fiancée. She has received rave reviews for her performances:-

“The most emotionally affecting scenes are between well-meaning but closeted politician James Prince, played by Lewis Asquith and his fiancée played by Tori Hargreaves. Hargreaves is totally credible as the ‘university girlfriend become political asset’ and her duet ‘Remember Us’ was beautifully done. Hargreaves duet with Millie O’Connell was a wonderfully poignant moment and both women were simply terrific.”

“The serene and patient fiancée (Tori Hargreaves) displays the stoic resolve, dignity and good grace of a woman wronged by her lover’s infidelity and their songs together possess real pathos”.

“Sterling support from Lewis Asquith as James and Tori Hargreaves as his long-suffering fiancée”.

“Tori Hargreaves constantly impresses”.

“Also of note is the acting chops of Tori Hargreaves….she is heartbreaking and powerful”.

“Tori Hargreaves was the stand-out performance for me”.

Stiles and Drewe’s Soho Cinders began its run in October at Charing Cross Theatre in London and continues until 21st December.

Says Mrs Lamont:  I recently caught up with Tori and her mum Debbie in London. It’s always a delight to see her doing so well. She is, and always was, a natural comedienne with brilliant timing. She is the same bubbly and fun Tori as she was when she joined the school as a seven-year-old and it’s a joy to see her living her dream.”

 

Tori with the cast of Soho Cinders