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Spotlight on Liverpool talent as students land lead roles on stage and screen

Students from Liverpool-based performing arts school, Rare Studio, have been busy taking the international arts scene by storm in recent months following a raft of professional successes.

Based on Wood Street, Rare Studio has gained a reputation for its dancing, acting and musical theatre success, as well as its scholarship and development fund which enables homegrown talent to train on a level playing field, regardless of their personal circumstances or financial backgrounds. With a register of over 100 full-time students, Rare Studio offers award-winning courses for those aged three to 18+ years old who aspire to careers in performing arts.

Forming part of Rare’s recent professional triumphs is acting graduate Ellis Howard. Adding to his continually growing list of prestigious roles, the Norris Green-born performer is currently starring on BBC Three after landing a lead role in four-star Guardian reviewed teen horror series Red Rose, produced by the same multi-award winning company behind Netflix’s Sex Education. Available on iPlayer, the series follows a group of friends in the summer after taking their GCSEs as their phones are taken over by a mysterious app.

Ellis, who is 24 years old, recently rose to fame after he appeared in hit Channel 4 care home drama, Help, alongside the best of Liverpool acting talent including Jodie Comer, Stephen Graham, Ian Hart and Andrew Schofield. TV fans may also recognise Ellis from appearances in Sky Arts’ Romeo & Juliet and HBO’s Catherine the Great with Helen Mirren.

Ellis said:

“Rare provides the very best training ground for the industry. The community at Rare is incredibly unique. Fiercely talented performers from all over the country, supporting and challenging each other under the guidance of excellent teaching, all pushing you to be the best artist you could possibly be.”

Another of Rare’s graduates, Billie Boullet, has recently joined Disney+’s A Small Light, a limited series from National Geographic that tells the remarkable story of a Dutch woman who risked her life to shelter Anne Frank’s (played by Boullet) family from the Nazis for more than two years and then preserved Anne’s diary.

This comes after the 17-year-old portrayed the role of Fanella Feverfew in the popular CBBC’s adaptation of The Worst Witch books written by Jill Murphy, followed by a role in Amazon Prime’s The Power and a yet to be announced Apple TV animation series, both to be released in 2023.

This year has also seen a significant presence of Rare graduates and students on theatre stages up and down the country.

Rare’s Teleri Hughes has excelled in her role as Heather McNamara in both the West End show and the much-anticipated film production of Heathers the Musical. Teleri was recently nominated for best actress in a musical by The Stage for her debut performance as Ilse in Spring Awakening and has appeared as Ensemble/2nd Cover Eponine in the Les Misérables UK and Ireland Tour.

Angus Good took to the stage in MAMMA MIA! The Musical on the West End, which to date has racked up 5-star reviews from highly regarded critics including The Spectator, The Sunday Express and Daily Mail.

Becky Smith is playing Hermia in Shakespeare North’s first production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Matthew Dunster.

Molly Madigan has just completed a successful run with Chester Storyhouse in their rep season at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and achieved acclaim for her portrayal as Beth in Little Women.

Earlier this year, Rare’s nine-year-old Pre-Elite programme student, Romi Hyland-Rylands starred in the BBC’s highly-rated TV series The Responder, alongside Hollywood star Martin Freeman. Romi, from Dingle, was cast in the role of main character Chris’s (Martin Freeman) daughter, in the Merseyside-based police drama which was hailed as one of the BBC’s must-watch shows of the year.

Rare’s dance department has also seen phenomenal success. Representing the prestigious Liverpool studio in performances across the world, Warrington-born Jamie Graham is currently on a world tour with Years & Years’ Olly Alexander. Jamie’s past success includes featuring as a professional dancer on The Voice Kids, X Factor and in Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.

Lindsay Inglesby, director at Rare Studio, said:

“We are so delighted and proud of all our students achieving their dreams and taking to stages and screens across the world. It’s thrilling to witness their hard work and perseverance come to fruition.

“In such a tough and competitive industry, to have so many students and graduates land roles in such prestigious and high-profile productions is amazing. They have all worked so hard during their time at Rare and that effort is paying off. Huge congratulations to them all.”

Rare Studio offers a range of qualifications from Level 3 BTEC to Level 4 and 5 Higher National programmes, providing 16 to 18-year-olds with the perfect platform to continue at degree or diploma level. To find out more and to apply for September 2022 programmes, visit: