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Former Upminster sixth form student wins Olivier Award for best supporting actress

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:01 12 April 2018

Sheila Atim (left) with cast from Girl from The North Country arriving for The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

Sheila Atim (left) with cast from Girl from The North Country arriving for The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

A former Havering student was in shock after being named as best supporting actress at the Olivier Awards at the weekend.

Sheila Atim arriving for The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA ImagesSheila Atim arriving for The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

Sheila Atim, 26, who attended The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, won the award for her role in musical Girl from the North Country, at the prestigious event which ITV aired on Sunday.

During her acceptance speech, Sheila said: “This is absolutely mental.

“I have to do a massive shout out to Conor McPherson who created this beautiful piece and allowed me to be in it.

“I never thought Ciarán Hinds and Shirley Henderson would be playing my parents but there we are, stranger things have happened!”

Sheila attended the sixth form around eight years ago and since then, has gone on to perform in The Lightning Child which premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and starred as refugee chef Babette in the musical adaptation of Babette’s Feast before taking on her award-winning role as Marianne.

During her speech, with her new Olivier award in hand, Sheila said that she wanted to see more black women winning awards in the musical theatre industry.

She said: “And on a slight tangent, it’s very important that I want to acknowledge some of the women that have been on this stage before me, last year for example, Noma and Amber Riley because they have been here accepting awards and they look a bit like me.

“And that to me is very, very important and I really hope particularly with Time’s Up and 50/50 that there will be more women in the future who look like me who will accept an award.”

She finished her speech saying: “And on the topic of women looking like me, I want to say hi to my mum!”

After Sheila was announced as the winner of best supporting actress, she performed Tight Connection to my Heart, which features in Girl from the North Country.

A spokesman of The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School said on its Facebook page: “The performance was completely mesmerising and [she] received a standing ovation at the Royal Albert Hall!

“Well done again Sheila - amazing!”

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