Search

Could West End dream become reality for Romford stage school student?

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 May 2014

Nicola will go up against 11 other hopefuls at the awards

Nicola will go up against 11 other hopefuls at the awards

Archant

Treading the boards of a West End stage is the dream for any young drama student.

Nicola says she was shocked to be nominated as she has only been singing for six yearsNicola says she was shocked to be nominated as she has only been singing for six years

So when 24-year-old Nicola Martinus-Smith was told she was nominated for the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year award, she was understandably delighted.

Originally from West Sussex, Nicola is in her third year studying musical theatre at CPA Studios in North Street, Romford, and recently progressed through the London heats of the prestigious singing competition, held by the society named after the iconic Broadway composer and lyricist.

This Sunday, Nicola will compete against 11 other hopefuls at the Garrick Theatre in the West End, as she aims to wow a juding panel filled with industry stars including the Tony and Olivier award winning pair Maria Friedman and Jenna Russell.

The finalists will perform songs from Sondheim musicals Sweeney Todd, Follies, Company, Sunday in the Park With George, Passion and Into The Woods.

Frances Poh and Vernon Martinus, Nicola's grandparentsFrances Poh and Vernon Martinus, Nicola's grandparents

“There’s nerves and excitement,” she said. “I was really, genuinely shocked to get through. I’ve only been singing for six years. I was just thinking it would be a great experience when I went to the heats. There were 76 people there.

“I’m juggling rehearsals for the college show with my preparation for the finals, trying to fit it in.”

She may be shocked, but her family has a rich tradition in song and dance. Her grandfather, Vernon Martinus, studied at the Royal Ballet School before he and Nicola’s grandmother, Frances Poh, set up the Singapore Ballet Academy in the Southeast Asia island.

“I went back there two weeks ago with my brother,” said Nicola. “I didn’t know if they would know who we were. I asked the manager if he knew who Vernon and Frances were and he did. He showed us around the place and we saw their picture on the wall.

The academy has now been going for over 50 years and has had students accepted to various accredited schools including Rambert School of Ballet, the English National Ballet and the Central School of Ballet.

“I have been dancing since I was tiny - about five,” explained Nicola. “I wanted to be a vet for years - but I wasn’t smart enough! But I always wanted to perform too.”

She is now hoping to claim the £1,000 prize money and follow in the footsteps of past winners of the award, who are now making their way in the world of musical theatre and the arts.

“My grandparents used to have all the old MGM musicals on video, and my ambition is to be in My Fair Lady, because of the songs. I love I Could Have Danced All Night.”

Speaking about the competition, Stephen Sondheim said: “It allows students to demonstrate their skills in story-telling through song. Moreover, it allows the public to hear new writing voices as well as new singing ones. Good luck to the singers, and remember to honour the songwriters. Good luck to the songwriters, and remember to honour the singers”

Read more:

West End star takes centre stage in Romford

Homegrown talent to dance at Olympic opening ceremony

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest Romford News Stories

A police officer’s career was left in jeopardy after he was handed a community order for downloading indecent images of children and extreme animal porn.

Yesterday, 16:36

The final acts and entertainment of the borough’s biggest summer event, the Havering Show, have been unveiled.

Yesterday, 15:52

After several months of detailed discussions, a potential merger between Havering College and Barking and Dagenham college has been called off.

Yesterday, 14:27

Cancer patients are happier with their care than previous years at the borough’s NHS trust, according to a survey.

Yesterday, 12:06

Police are unable to say how much progress has been made in deciding whether there is enough evidence to reopen an investigation into how a man came to be found dead in a cement mixer.

Yesterday, 10:27

A Year 4 pupil ended the school year on a high with a visit to the House of Lords after winning a writing competition.

Yesterday, 08:30

“Common sense prevailed” in the eyes of the council leader, as cabinet members rejected a motion calling for Havering to leave the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Wed, 18:00

A man has been jailed for five years for his part in a late night crime spree that began when two cars were stolen in Harold Hill in June.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now