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Crewe actor Rebecca Smith on performing in the West End

PUBLISHED: 10:55 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 14 November 2017

Rebecca Smith in rehearsal for the National Youth Theatre West End REP production of Jekyll and Hyde.

Rebecca Smith in rehearsal for the National Youth Theatre West End REP production of Jekyll and Hyde.

Helen Murray

From school plays in Crewe to the West End, Rebecca Smith is an actor on the rise

Rebecca (left) reheasing for Jekyll and Hyde Rebecca (left) reheasing for Jekyll and Hyde

It’s a role many young people would dream of and Rebecca Smith’s dream of treading the boards on a West End stage is coming true. The 24-year-old from Crewe is currently appearing in three shows at the Ambassadors Theatre in London with the National Youth Theatre.

The former St Thomas More Catholic School pupil is playing Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello, as well as appearing in a radical reimagining of the Victorian classic Jekyll and Hyde and in an adaptation of Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. She has been with the National Youth Theatre since 2013 but only joined the Rep Company earlier this year.

‘It’s an incredible feeling,’ said Rebecca, who also performed as part of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. ‘There are 16 actors accepted into the company and around 1,000 people apply for it. I couldn’t quite believe it when I found out I had got on.

‘It’s an incredible thing to be a part of and such invaluable experience. I can’t quite believe it. The plays are quite remarkable too. It’s Shakespeare, but not as you know it. We do a lot of our performances for schools and they won’t be expecting what they’re going to see. It’s exciting.’

Rebecca Smith with mohammed Mansaray in rehearsal for the National Youth Theatre production of Othello. Rebecca Smith with mohammed Mansaray in rehearsal for the National Youth Theatre production of Othello.

Rebecca, who said parents Liz and Chris have never missed a show, always wanted to be a performer and has trained at prestigious schools including LIPA and Rare Dance Academy, both in Liverpool. She has taken part in many shows and projects, including one that tackled the issue of child poverty and was performed for MPs at Westminster. Despite still loving dance, she has realised her heart is in acting and is now ploughing all of her efforts into that.

Rebecca, who moved to London a few months ago, is in good company in at the National Youth Theatre. As well as appearing alongside the country’s top emerging talent she is also following in the footsteps of renowned actors including Helen Mirren, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Craig and Matt Smith.

‘It’s made such a difference to be in London and to be working as part of the Rep Company,’ said Rebecca. ‘To be here, where all of the auditions are, is fantastic. There is such a buzz and you feel at the heart of it all.

‘I know this is where I’m meant to be. It’s really intense. I’m working 16 hour days, six days a week working on two plays and rehearsing for another. And I absolutely love it.

‘It is such an amazing opportunity and I’m very honoured to work with such incredibly talented people. I’ve worked really hard and it is starting to pay off. But this is still really early days for me; I have a lot to learn. I can’t wait.’

Now in its fifth consecutive year, the NYT REP is inspired by the traditional repertory theatre model. This year’s season runs until December 8th at the Ambassadors Theatre.

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