Photo Flash: Erin Doherty Wins Stephen Sondheim Society's 2015 Student Performer of the Year
Twelve student finalists from top drama schools across the UK competed for the title of this year's Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year (SSSSPOTY), on Sunday 17th May at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. Each student sung a song by Stephen Sondheim and, at his personal request, they each sang a new musical theatre song, written by members of Mercury Musical Developments and shortlisted for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize. Scroll down for photos from the event!
Erin Doherty was crowned this year's winner, performing "Broadway Baby" from Follies as her Stephen Sondheim Song and New Song "Angel at the Top of the Tree" written by Darren Clarke. The runner up of the 2015 competition was Leah West who sung "I Read" from Passion as her Sondheim Song and "Love Me" by Laura Kaye Thomson as her New Song.
Erin Doherty says, "It was honestly one of the best experiences I've ever had. The entire day was just a joy to be a part of - every single person involved, from the contestants to the Creative Team at the Garrick Theatre technicians, were just so supportive. I just embraced the magic of it! I'm so grateful and can only hope that more days like this Sunday are to come."
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School says, "We're immensely proud of Erin's achievement and along with Ewan, we've had Finalists in the competition (including our first winner Adrian Grove in 2008) for the last 7 years. This is yet another Bristol success story and demonstrates the extraordinary quality of teaching at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School."
The award for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize 2015 went to Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for "Don't Look Down from The Superhero", which was sung by finalist Grant McConvey. The runner up for The Best New Song Prize went to Darren Clark for "The Angel at the Top of the Tree", performed by 2015's winner Erin Doherty.
The renowned Sondheim interpreter and patron of the Stephen Sondheim Society, Julia McKenzie presented the award, alongside a glittering line up of judges including Elaine Paige, Laura Pitt-Pulford, director Jamie Lloyd, conductor and BBC Proms favourite John Wilson and writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson. Composers and lyricists George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and Pippa Cleary and Jake Brunger (writers of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole at Curve Leicester) judged the Best New Song Prize. The afternoon was hosted by Michael Xavier.
The prestige and impact of these awards continues to grow each year. The competition is now in its ninth year with a top prize of £1,000 for both the Student Performer and the writer of the Best New Song. The student runner-up will also receive a prize of £500. The event is produced by Martin Jackson and Victoria Saxton for Mercury Musical Developments and Craig Glenday for The Stephen Sondheim Society.
Photo Credit: David Ovenden/The Stephen Sondheim Society
Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year 2015
Erin Doherty, Lea West and company
Erin Doherty and Corinne Priest
Craig Glenday and Elaine Paige