Thursday, 16 September 2021

Young actor delighted at Olivier award

A BOY is celebrating after the show in which he played a lead role won an Olivier award.

A BOY is celebrating after the show in which he played a lead role won an Olivier award.

Ewan Harris, 12, played William Beech in Goodnight Mister Tom, which won the best entertainment and family category at the awards.

He says the win has spurred him on to pursue a television role.

Ewan, of Albert Road, Caversham, said: “It’s always good to win an award and obviously I would like to win lots.

“We were up against some good plays and we had all been given four or five star reviews so you couldn’t tell what was going to happen.”

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe congratulated members of the cast on their achievement.

Ewan said: “We were at the stage door and he had just presented an award so he shook our hands and said ‘well done’, which was nice.

“I like attention so it was good fun. All of a sudden everyone was looking at us with the award.”

This was his second professional role after he appeared in Ragtime at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park last summer.

Ewan started acting three years ago when his parents, Alex and Louise, asked him to accompany his sister, Naomi, eight, to Stageworks classes as she was too shy to go on her own. A year later, he was asked to sign up to an agency after Stageworks principal Emma Jane Taylor noticed his potential.

For his role as William, he had to learn 341 lines, which he rehearsed with his father.

He said: “Every Sunday we spent about two hours on the script. I had to go through all the lines I got wrong again and again but it was fun.”

He performed two or three of the eight shows a week when the play was at the Phoenix Theatre in London and performed every night of the four-week tour around the country.

Ewan, who attends Highdown School in Emmer Green, believes his history lessons at Emmer Green Primary School helped him prepare for the role as an evacuee, which included pretending to be sick on stage.

He said: “You learn about the war and all of that in year five so you just have to think back, concentrate and imagine what it would be like.”

He performed alongside Oliver Ford Davies, best-known for his role as Sio Bibble in the Star Wars prequel films and admits he was he star-struck when he first met him.

However, performing in front of audiences of up to 2,000 people didn’t phase him.

“I get such an adrenaline rush that I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Ewan.

Mr Harris, an IT manager, said: “We are a lot more nervous watching him. When you were watching the press preview you know the press are going to be writing something about him the next day, good or bad, and that was quite difficult to sit through as a parent. As the shows go on, you tend to relax.”

Mrs Harris, who works in marketing, said: “I am so nervous the first couple of times I watch him perform. You are watching and hoping nothing goes wrong, especially when you know something difficult is coming up.”

Ewan received a handmade monogrammed paint box as a gift after the show finished as his character is very good at art.

He was also given a good luck card by Michelle Magorian, who wrote the novel that the play was based on.

His latest part is playing Dill in To Kill A Mockingbird, also at the Open Air Theatre.

He started rehearsals last month, a week after he had finished touring.

“I was really excited and just wanted to start it because it’s great beginning something new,” said Ewan.

“I like the atmosphere of the theatre. It’s different as you can see what is going on, you can hear the bees buzzing and sometimes blossom falls from the trees. It is harder, though, because you can see the audience.”

Ewan has not decided whether he wants to be an actor when he is older.

“It’s hard because I’d like to keep my options open,” he said. “I have always wanted to be a vet. I could probably be an actor but it’s a hard job.”

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