Ex-Godalming College student Sam Thomas has won Best Actor in a Musical at the first ever The Stage Debut Awards, which celebrates young British emerging stage talent, in a ceremony in London on Sunday. His award was received for his role in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Allegro at the Southwark Playhouse in London.
The musical Allegro was written nearly 70 years ago and didn’t fit the mould usually associated with Roger’s and Hammerstein’s musicals of the American Dream. It follows the story of a young doctor who is persuaded by his childhood sweetheart to go to the big city to work with the rich and famous. The revival of the musical at the Southwark Playhouse was the first time that the production had been staged in Europe.
Thomas, who described his reaction to winning as simply ‘shock’ went on to say that ‘all the other lads nominated in the category were all worthy of this, but obviously I feel absolute pride, excitement and honour.’
He says of Allegro that "It revolutionised the form of musical theatre and tilted the axis of what musical theatre is all about - that it doesn't have to be a big showy thing, it can be a very contained, integral, actor-driven and character-driven piece of theatre."
Whilst at College Sam spent most of his time in the Performing Arts Centre taking Drama and Theatre Studies and Performing Arts A Levels alongside English Literature A level. He also furthered his research through an Extended Project Qualification linked to his Performing Arts Studies.
To further hone his skills he took part in ClassAction, the College’s performance company alongside his peer, Max Bowden who went on to star in the TV series Waterloo Road and was a member of the stage play cast of Songbird, by Sabastian Faulks.
During his time at College Sam took part in the Musical Cabaret, playing Cliff alongside Max as Emcee, Stockholm and Lord of the Flies. He wrote songs for the College’s Theatre in Education tour of the Laramie Project which examined homophobic bullying and was performed in local schools. He was also part of the original cast of the musical Everything in Colour performed at the Wimbledon Theatre and further developed the production as musical director for performances at the Guildford Fringe Festival.
After Godalming Sam progressed to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts to take a BA (hons) in Musical Theatre but has frequently returned to the College to lead vocal and singing masterclasses for current students.
Andy Pullen, Head of Drama, Dance and Performing Arts says, ‘Sam always acted with generosity and humility. He was a wonderful company member and an active part of ClassAction. It was clear he was a driven practitioner full of the determination to continue his training and to perform professionally. Sam always gives of his time freely, and encourages and supports others"