Ben Cupit, from Great Sankey, was one of hundreds of hopefuls to audition for the Arts Educational School in London – only 40 were chosen.
“I was sick with nerves waiting to hear whether I had got in because theatre school has always been an important goal for me,” said Ben, 17.
Arts Educational School counts movie actors, former soap stars and countless stage performers as former pupils. In 2010 to 2011, 100 per cent of its Musical Theatre graduates had agents, and 95 per cent had work upon graduation.
To be accepted onto the BA Musical Theatre programme, Ben had to sing and complete an hour-long dance workshop before the first cut was made.
In the second round the former Penketh High pupil had to sing again during a nine-hour day of auditions that included learning a monologue from Romeo and Juliet and dualogue performed with a student from the school.
“They wanted to test how well we all take direction and constructive criticism,” he said.
Ben’s path to dramatic success was helped by his father, Nick, who set up and still runs Warrington’s leading and longest-established youth theatre, Cody’s Productions.
It was the perfect training ground for Ben whose first big role was as Gavroche in Les Miserables. When he was 14 he appeared on the West End stage for the first time as Billy Elliott’s older brother.
“It was scary because the theatre held a lot of people and it sold out,” said Ben.
At Priestley Ben has starred in Too Darn Hot and is next appearing in We Will Rock You.
His Performing Arts Extended Diploma at Priestley College has covered all manner of disciplines including Shakespeare, Bollywood dance, Greek drama and ballet.
“I have to thank my tutors at Priestley and my dad because they have kept encouraging me all the way,” he said.
Sarah Graham, Head of Performing Arts at Priestley, said: “Ben has been a tremendous asset to College, performing with great charisma on stage while also supporting Priestley’s efforts to encourage other boys to take up performing arts.”