Young opera star is the pride of Britten!

Josh Shadbolt
Josh Shadbolt

A young actor has won a role in an English National Opera production.

Josh Shadbolt of Clifton is starring in Peter Grimes, a Benjamin Britten opera at the London Coliseum theatre.

Eight-year-old Josh plays a barnacle boy in the production, which will be filmed and screened live at cinemas across the country on Sunday, February 23.

The new approach to bringing opera to a wider audience means All Saints Academy pupil Josh will be seen on stage by audiences nationwide.

Josh, of Broad Street, has always enjoyed acting and singing, and has experienced West End theatre before.

As a member of the Vision Theatre Arts school in Sandy Josh – who lives with his mum Sue, dad Colin and brother Alex – took part in a London production last year.

After a successful day spent on a film set he has since been signed up by the Scallywags child model agency, who put him forward for the Peter Grimes audition.

Sue said: “We took Josh down to the set of a short film called Our Time and he learned about acting and how filming is done.

“We were then put in touch with Scallywags and Josh auditioned for Peter Grimes.

“The next day we found out he had got the part and we were overjoyed.”

The silent role sees Josh play one of three street urchins who are seen cleaning the decks of a ship.

Josh’s proud parents have supported him throughout and spotted his talent for singing at Vision in Sandy.

He is also a member of the All Saints Church choir in Clifton.

Colin said: “It was quite nerve-wracking going to the auditions for Peter Grimes as parents weren’t allowed to watch them taking place.

“We had to wait backstage so we didn’t know how it had all gone until we saw Josh afterwards.”

Emily Thornton, who runs the Vision Theatre Arts school said: “This is a great experience for Josh.

“The Coliseum is a wonderful theatre and for him to be starring in a professional production is fantastic.”

There will be four more performances of Peter Grimes. They are Friday, February 14, Friday, February 21, Sunday, February, 23 and Thursday, February 27.

Anyone who cannot make it to the shows at the London Coliseum can watch the live screening on February 23 at Cineworld in Bedford and Stevenage.

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