Did you hear about who was named the 13th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year (SSSSPOTY) and who took home the 12th annual Stiles + Drewe Best New Song Prize? Look no further than LAMDA’s Stuart Thompson and composer Theo Jamieson. Not forgetting, runners-up Bird College’s Paige Fenlon and RADA’s Jamie Bogyo.
A gala held at Theatre Royal Haymarket, hosted by Joanna Riding, saw 12 student competitors each perform a Stephen Sondheim song, and a Best New Song Prize entrant written by members of Mercury Musical Developments. Winner Stuart Thompson from LAMDA, performed ‘Franklin Shepard, Inc’ and ‘My Thing’. Theo Jamieson was awarded the Stiles + Drewe Prize for his original song ‘Words/Amazing’.
For SSSSPOTY, Paige Fenlon from Bird College was selected as runner up, and Jamie Bogyo from RADA was awarded third place. Ben Glasstone and Poppy Burton-Morgan were chosen as runners up for the Stiles + Drewe Prize, for their original song ‘My Thing’.
Craig Glenday, chair of the Stephen Sondheim Society, said:
“Once again, the standard at this annual celebration of young and emerging talent was incredibly high, and I know the judges struggled to pick the winners. This gala has earned its status as one of the most important musical theatre events of the year, and the society is thrilled at the enthusiastic response from all those in attendance. Many thanks to our generous patron Julia McKenzie for once again allowing us to award a third place performer, and congratulations to Stuart, Paige and Jamie – well done and well deserved. But we really want to commend everyone for staging the most marvellous afternoon of entertainment.”
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe also said: “There is no question that there is a wonderful array of musical theatre writing talent here in the UK. We were so thrilled to receive over 170 entries this year, and proud to present our 12 exceptional finalists on the Theatre Royal Haymarket stage. The diversity and strength of the writing featured in this afternoon's gala bears testament to a very exciting future for British musical theatre.”
The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year was chosen by judges Julia McKenzie, Daisy Maywood, Peter Polycarpou, Edward Seckerson and Gareth Valentine. With Anthony Drewe, Charles Hart, Jenna Russell and Nkeki Obi-Melekwe selecting the Stiles + Drewe Prize winner. Both winners were awarded £1,000.
The gala also featured performances from host Riding, 2018 SSSSPOTY winner Alex Cardall, and Andy Coxon and Gabriela Garcia, the stars of the Royal Exchange Theatre production of West Side Story.