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Seventeen year old Ben Thomas from Swansea is the 2017 Welsh Musical Theatre Young Singer Of The Year. He was awarded the coveted title by Judges Vivien Care, Claire Hammacott and Michael Morwood after a very high standard contest against Kate McKeown, Lynwen Haf Roberts and Grace-Marie Wyatt - all of whom were accompanied by virtuoso pianist, Jeffrey Howard.

In what was described by Vivien Care as one of the most closely fought finals in the competition's 15 year history, Thomas won over the judges with his quality vocals and highly accomplished acting performances of a varied programme of songs - "Maria" from West Side Story, "I Can't Stand Still" from Footloose, "They Don't Make Glass Slippers" from Soho Cinders and a stunning rendition of "Santa Fe" from Newsies.

The Final of the competition was staged at Swansea's Taliesin Arts Centre on Saturday April 22 and the evening was further complemented by performances from the 2016 Welsh Musical Theatre Young Singer Of The Year, Michael Lowe, and by the Dunvant Male Choir (who have organized and staged the competition since its inception).

The 2017 Welsh Musical Theatre Young Singer Of The Year competition was sponsored by Hello Cabaret (which celebrates and showcases musical theatre songs and performers through intimate performances - often with re-imagined twists - at venues in Cardiff and Swansea). This sponsorship has enabled the continuation of the prestigious competition which has established itself as a major event in the musical , theatrical and cultural calendar in The Principality over the last 15 years.

Past winners of the title have included Olivier Award Winner, David Thaxton (Les Miserables, Passion, Love Never Dies) and a host of other performers who have gone on to play major roles in the West End - such as Hayley Gallivan (Wicked, Spring Awakening), Kit Orton (Tom, Spamalot, Dickens Abridged), Michael Riseley (Les Miserables), Luke McCall (The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables) and Connie Fisher (The Sound Of Music, They're Playing Our Song).

Ben Thomas, who is currently a student at Gowerton College, studying for a BTEC in Performing Arts, aims to audition for London colleges to study for a musical theatre degree and pursue a career in musical theatre and hopefully follow in the footsteps of his fellow Welsh Musical Theatre Young Singers Of The Year.

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