Banchory teen set for centre stage

A BANCHORY teenager has been handed a leading role in a new production of Peter Pan, to be staged in London.

Ewan Black, of Mount Street, is one of only three from Scotland to feature in the musical version of the J M Barrie classic.

After successfully auditioning for Youth Music Theatre UK in January this year, he went on to participate in one of their summer workshops.

He said: "The director picked me and I got cast as Great White Panther, one of the lead roles in Peter Pan. It was just luck that it was being staged in Aberdeen, it could have been anywhere in the country."

Led by an artistic team from London, the entire cast had just ten days to learn all the songs and dances and, he admitted: "The rehearsal process was quite intense, we were working 12 hours every day."

They went on to perform to sellout audiences at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in August. Such was its success, that organisers hailed it the best out of all the previous productions they had done, and decided to take the show to London.

Ewan heads for London on December 18, along with his two fellow performers from Aberdeen, Ewan Summers and Lauren Cunningham, and straight into rehearsals for the first show at the Bridewell Theatre on December 21.

He said: "I'll need to know all my dancing and singing by then. We're doing eight shows in four days!"

He is no stranger to musical theatre, having already worked with Aberdeen Youth Musical Theatre, Leading Lights and Deeside Musical Society. The youngest of four, he started performing at the age of nine and is the only one in his family to take to the stage.

He is determined to pursue a career in the performing arts and said: "I'm getting my CV all done and, as soon as I'm 18, I plan to visit different drama schools in Scotland and in London, and hopefully get into musical theatre."

Youth Music Theatre UK was founded in 2003 and provides residential activities for 11-21-year-olds, during school and college holidays. In 2008, they presented eight new music theatre productions around the UK.

Peter Pan is the creation of Scottish novelist and playwright, J M Barrie, and this new musical production has been written by Nick Stimson together with popular composer, Jimmy Jewell.

Ewan's mum and dad, Mary and Stephen Black, will travel to London to see him perform, along with brothers Angus and Duncan.

He said: "They're really excited about it and they're all coming to see me except my sister Rhona, who's in Switzerland doing a chalet course and can't make it."

Peter Pan is showing at the Bridewell Theatre, off Fleet Street, from December 21 to 24. For more information, visit www.ymtuk.org.