Year 11 student Alex Ridley is the pride of Longhill High School this week, after winning the Contribution to Arts and Culture Award at the Argus Youth in Action Awards 2018.
Alex was nominated for the award by Longhill Head of Drama, Jo Fenwick, for her outstanding work in this year’s ground-breaking Year 11 play, ‘I Love You Mum, I Promise I Won’t Die’. The play was written by Mark Wheeler and is a true story about Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, a boy who sadly died of a drug overdose in 2014.
Alex was cast in the role of Fiona – Daniel’s mother; this was a challenging role for Alex as the play had been written in the family’s words. Alex fully immersed herself in the role and made every effort to ensure she stayed true to the role and the story.
Ms Fenwick explained, “I contacted the playwright who put me in contact with Dan’s mother, Fiona and we arranged for Fiona to come in and meet and speak to all the children in the cast. Alex was deeply moved by Fiona’s visit and this spurred her on even more to make her portrayal of Fiona as realistic as possible. Alex and the rest of the cast put in so many hours after school and at weekends.
“Meridian News did a story on the piece and Alex was interviewed; the news team were blown away by Alex’s professionalism and talent and said that she definitely had a future in acting.
“Alex is an incredibly talented student who never ceases to amaze me, she has an incredible raw talent and is so hardworking. I am absolutely delighted that she has won this fabulous award, which is so well-deserved.”
Alex is now awaiting her GCSE results and told us what the role of Daniel’s mother in the play meant to her, “I felt that it was really important, that I had to get it right, that I had some sort of job to do. It was an honour in a way.” And her thoughts on the award? “I had a great time at the awards afternoon. It was such a surprise to win – I still can’t quite believe it!”
The award was sponsored by the BIMM Institute, Brighton and was presented to Alex by Angelique Sabine from BIMM and Nicola Hume from Heart. Picture reproduced with kind permission of Argus, Brighton.