A HAMPTON teenager has become the second student from his school to win a place at the prestigious National Youth Theatre (NYT) in the space of a year.

Francis Redfern, 15, will follow fellow Hampton High pupil Mo Deria to the NYT, which boasts Helen Mirren, Sir Ben Kingsley and Daniel Day-Lewis among its alumni.

The teen was chosen from around 5,000 applicants after completing a full day of workshops and an individual audition.

After a two-week induction in August, he will be put forward for various auditions, including film, television and West End productions.

Francis, who was among three students who perform regularly at The Rose Theatre, Kingston, to be accepted, was inspired to try out for the NYT after friend and fellow pupil Mo won a place last year.

He said: “Mo was an absolute inspiration. Not only is he a great actor but he is also a great guy and really encouraged me to go for it.

“When he got a place, and did the story in the Richmond and Twickenham Times last year, it was big news around the school.”

He thanked Head of Performing Arts, Alice Jones, who is also his form tutor and Libby Povey, his Drama teacher, for helping him practice for auditions.

He said: “They were both so great. I really don’t think I would have got in without their support. They helped me practice with auditions and were so supportive.

“We also have a very, very good performing arts department at this school which is obviously a very big help.

Ms Jones, who is also an alumnus of the NYT, said: “When Mo got in last year, very quietly, Francis said to me ‘I want that to be me next year’.

“He is a very talented student and has taken up every opportunity to be involved with the drama department. We have pushed him because we believe he has a lot of potential.

Francis now dreams of emulating his hero Eddie Redmayne by winning an Oscar.

Article supplied by Yom Barnes