KING’S Ely Sixth Form student, Billy Pinto, has been called-up by the prestigious National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT).

Billy, 16, will be starring in (subject to the COVID-19 situation) ‘Imagination’, by Timothy Knapman and Stuart Matthew Price. Directed by Richard Fitch, the production will be presented at CURVE Theatre, Leicester and for the International Youth Arts Festival, Kingston in June and July.

As a member of the NYMT 2020 Company, Billy will also be invited to participate in other events and performances, including the NYMT Christmas Concert at St John’s, Smith Square.

What an achievement Billy – congratulations!

We had a quick catch-up with Billy following his good news.

When did you first start getting involved in theatre and musical theatre?

In Year 7 when, firstly, I was involved in the school’s production of ‘Richard III’ for the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival and then in ‘High School Musical’, which was my first musical and when I discovered I liked singing.

What do you enjoy most about being on stage?

I enjoy the team spirit shared with the other cast members involved in a production, and being able to convey a different character from myself, or any other character I have played before.

What school productions have you been involved with to date?

High School Musical – Zeke
Richard III – Prince in the Tower
Oliver – Oliver
Les Mis – Gavroche
DNA – Chorus
Grease – Doody
Jesus Christ Superstar – Disciple
Merchant of Venice – Shylock
Ugly Youth (Edinburgh Fringe Production) – Arkin
Made in Dagenham – Mr. Hopkins
Education Education Education – Hugh

What do you think is your biggest achievement with theatre and musical theatre so far?

Definitely being cast this year in a National Youth Music Theatre production!

When did you join King’s Ely?

In April 2006 – I joined in Nursery 1.

What A Level subjects are you studying?

Drama, History and French.

What did you have to do to be selected for the NYMT?

There were two rounds of auditions. Auditions are held all over the country and I attended one in Cambridge. We were asked to prepare a musical theatre song to perform at the audition and we had to participate in a dance and an acting session. Then there were call backs specifically for the productions being put on this year and I was called back for two of these. We were given scenes and songs to prepare for the callbacks which were in London. I have been cast in a show called ‘Imaginary’.

How do you feel that you have been selected? Were you surprised?

I feel so excited and privileged to have been selected! I didn’t expect it at all as it was my first year auditioning and I’ve heard that often people audition four or five times before they are cast in a production.

Do you enjoy the drama provision here at King’s Ely?

I really enjoy drama at King’s. The teachers in the drama department are brilliant and so are the other pupils, so it feels like we are a real team. Every King’s Company show is produced to such a high level, which feels very professional. I think this is quite rare for school drama so I feel very lucky to be able to take part in drama here.

What are your plans/ambitions once you have left Sixth Form?

If I can get good enough A Level grades, I would really like to go to University in Edinburgh before going on to Drama School and then I want to become a stage actor.

Are you involved with any theatre or musical theatre groups outside of school?

There’s always something involving music or drama to take part in at school so I’m usually really busy – NYMT was the first time I have done any drama or theatre outside of King’s. That’s partly why I’m so pleased to have been given a role!

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