Acclaimed stage star targets soundtrack

Sudbury, Suffolk. Laura Barnard, TA at Ormiston Sudbury Academy who was in the cast of 'Brass' in the National Youth Musical Theatre ANL-141117-175220009
Sudbury, Suffolk. Laura Barnard, TA at Ormiston Sudbury Academy who was in the cast of 'Brass' in the National Youth Musical Theatre ANL-141117-175220009
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An aspiring theatre star is hoping to make a soundtrack after playing the lead role in a critically acclaimed theatre production.

Laura Barnard is currently working as a teaching assistant at her former school, Ormiston Sudbury Academy, but recently returned from starring in a national award-winning production in Leeds.

In the summer, Laura played Eliza in the National Youth Music Theatre’s production of Brass, which was based on the experiences of women in Leeds who took up the roles of men in the city’s brass band when their husbands left to fight in the First World War.

Commemorating the start of the war, the show at the City Varieties Music Hall was given numerous five-star reviews and won the best musical production gong at the UK Theatre Awards.

Now the 18-year-old, from Hunts Hill, Glemsford, is trying to raise enough money so the original cast can reunite to make a professional recording of the soundtrack.

“We are all doing our bit – fundraising and busking,” she said.

She added it would mean everything to be able to record the show, describing the songs as a “hybrid of Les Misérables and quintessential British music”.

“It’s the music that got people to sit up and listen,” she said.

Currently in the midst of applying to go to university to continue her studies in the arts next year, Laura described the run as the best experience of her life.

Having beaten 2,000 other hopefuls to land the role, she said: “It was so much more than I thought it was going to be.”

Performing seven shows in just four days was also emotionally tough.

“I was absolutely exhausted afterwards,” she said. “I just got back and slept.

“I’ve definitely come back more mature. You have to be tough and just get on with it.”

Thrown into a professional environment and facing daily criticism, she recalled a fellow performer breaking down in tears after facing the wrath of the director.

“I managed to hold my own though,” she added.

To donate to the fund, go to www.nymt.org.uk/support-brass.