Talented actress, 17, from tiny North Yorkshire village, to follow in footsteps of Dame Helen Mirren, after winning National Youth Theatre place

A student at a North Yorkshire school has been accepted into the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

Pictured, Carys Peedell, 17, a sixth form pupil from Ripon Grammar School, has been accepted into the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Great Britain's summer course. Photo credit: Submitted picture
Pictured, Carys Peedell, 17, a sixth form pupil from Ripon Grammar School, has been accepted into the prestigious National Youth Theatre of Great Britain's summer course. Photo credit: Submitted picture

Carys Peedell, 17, a sixth form pupil from Ripon Grammar school, has won a coveted place at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

For more than 60 years the world-leading youth arts organisation has nurtured hundreds of thousands of talented performers.

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Dame Helen Mirren, pictured last September at an awards ceremony. The actress is one of the illustrious list of alumni for the National Youth Theatre, alongside Daniel Craig, Colin Firth and Idris Elba. Photo credit: Getty

It's illustrious list of alumni includes Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth and Idris Elba, and about 5,000 people apply each year, with only 500 being accepted.

Auditions for the National Youth Theatre this year were held on Zoom, which included a self-tape audition and a live digital recall.

"It’s an amazing opportunity and has been the launch pad for many successful acting careers," Carys said.

The youngster from the village of Kirklington, near Bedale, added she had dreams of being a star of stage and screen from an early age.

Pictured Carys Peedell (left) performing as the lead during the Upstage Academy production of 'Legally Blonde'. The talented actress said acting has helped her conquer her shyness. Photo credit: Submitted picture

She said: “I’ve loved acting for as long as I can remember – when I was little, I would constantly dress up and make films with my sister."

As a quiet child, Carys was offered minor parts in primary school productions but confessed at nine-years-old she wrote her own version of a play, to guarantee a leading role.

"We put it on in front of the whole school and parents even came to watch," she said.

But Carys, who alongside acting partner Alfie Davies won the Harrogate Competitive Festival Speech and Drama Championship final last year, said performing had given her "the power" to conquer her shyness.

Pictured, actress Reese Witherspoon from the iconic film Legally Blonde. Photo credit: PA

"I found I could be loud and confident when playing someone else. People saw me in a different light and that’s when I decided I wanted to be an actor,” she explained.

Carys, who is studying A-levels in chemistry, psychology and art, said she is looking forward to beginning her intensive training with the National Youth Theatre, which includes a summer course.

The regular star in Upstage's Harrogate Theatre summer musicals, Carys, most recently played the part of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and is now preparing to film High School Musical, where she is taking on the role of character Sharpay Evans.

While previous Ripon Grammar school roles include parts in Toy Story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oliver, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream - for which she also won awards.

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