Delight as duo secure places at prestigious National Youth Theatre

Riley Britchfield and Annabel Haggar from Felixstowe School have been accepted into the National Youth Theatre

Riley Britchfield, left, and Annabel Haggar, right, from Felixstowe School have been accepted into the National Youth Theatre - which has an acceptance rate of less than one in ten. - Credit: Gemma Pilcher

A pair of talented young thespians from the same school have beaten the odds to join a prestigious theatre programme - where the acceptance rate is less than 10%.

Riley Britchfield, 15, and Annabel Haggar, 17, from Felixstowe School, have been accepted into the National Youth Theatre. 

Famous alumni of the programme include the likes of Colin Firth, Daniel Craig, Dame Helen Mirren, Ed Sheeran and Matt Lucus. 

Riley, left, decided to audition for the prestigious program along with Annabel and twelve other hopefuls.

Riley, left, decided to audition for the prestigious program along with Annabel and twelve other hopefuls. - Credit: Gemma Pilcher

The students at Felixstowe School were delighted to attend the National Youth Theatre's three-hour workshop

The students at Felixstowe School were delighted to attend the National Youth Theatre's three-hour workshop, and have the chance to audition. - Credit: Gemma Pilcher

Annabel, left, has told Mrs Pilcher that she would like to have a career in teaching.

Annabel, left, has told Mrs Pilcher that she would like to have a career in teaching. - Credit: Gemma Pilcher

To have even one student accepted, said head of drama Gemma Pilcher, is unheard of. 

“In all the years I’ve taught at schools, I’ve never known any student accepted, let alone two, especially, when you’ve only got a small group of 14 auditioning in the first place. 

“It’s just amazing. This is going to be huge for them,” she said 

The National Youth Theatre travels around the country each year, offering workshops to young performers and then the chance to audition. 

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Riley and Annabel, along with other students from years seven to 12, prepared a speech and auditioned – and were accepted. 

The girls now have the opportunity to attend a two-week course in London over the summer. 

“They will be soaking up a huge amount of information, working with National Theatre directors, screenwriters, scriptwriters and all kinds of people,” explained Mrs Pilcher. 

“Then at the end of the two weeks, they get to be part of the National Youth Theatre until they’re 26, which means they get information about castings and anything going on with national theatre, or national youth theatre, and kind of get first dibs on it.” 

Mrs Pilcher is “100% sure” that both girls’ have impressive performing careers to look forward to. 

“Riley is an all-rounder. She’s a really strong actor, but she’s also a really strong singer and dancer.” 

Riley wowed the community in February with a stellar performance as Miss Hannigan in Annie.

Riley gave an incredible performance as Miss Hannigan in Annie in February.

Riley gave an incredible performance as Miss Hannigan in Annie in February. - Credit: Darren Meitiner-Harvey

Riley performed as Miss Hannigan in Annie (opposite Katie Mitton as Annie) and wowed the community every night.

Riley performed as Miss Hannigan in Annie (opposite Katie Mitton as Annie) and wowed the community every night. - Credit: Darren Meitiner-Harvey

“Annabel is a phenomenal actor, but she’s also a good director. Annabel wants to go into teaching, she’s made that very clear. Her aspirations lie in the classroom.” 

Headteacher Emma Wilson-Downes is thrilled with her students’ success. 

“We are so proud of our students,” she said.  

“Our arts provision is really strong and vibrant. The arts allow students to showcase talent outside of purely academic subjects and acquire character traits that will serve them well in later life. The presence of arts enriches every aspect of the school.” 

The students at Felixstowe School were delighted to attend the National Youth Theatre's three-hour workshop

The students at Felixstowe School were delighted to attend the National Youth Theatre's three-hour workshop, and have the chance to audition. - Credit: Gemma Pilcher

Annabel, left, has told Mrs Pilcher that she would like to have a career in teaching.

Annabel, left, has told Mrs Pilcher that she would like to have a career in teaching. - Credit: Gemma Pilcher