IT’S BACK to school for young Eddie Manning who has just scooped one of the most prestigious theatre awards in the world.
The talented 13-year-old joined the cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods in accepting the Lawrence Olivier Award for best musical revival.
Eddie, a pupil at Mayville High School in Southsea, had played the singing, dancing and speakinig role of the narrator for 17 nights last summer at Regents Park Open Air Theatre production.
He said: ‘It was amazing to win the award - I’m still a little speechless, it’s all like a dream to me.
‘I had to perform one of the songs on stage at the ceremony before the winner was announced and it was a bit nerve-wracking.
‘But when they called our name out, the whole cast went mental.’
Eddie, who has been performing to the public since he was seven years, said he enjoyed rubbing shoulders with theatre greats like Patrick Stewart on Sunday night.
He said: ‘It was wonderful to be under the same roof of so many talented performers whom I’d love to join on stage some day.
‘At the after party the atmosphere was great, and I even held the award which was very heavy.
‘I love performing and I hope this is the beginning of a successful career in the theatre. I’d like to think I can conquer the West End after this.’
Eddie, who is a member of the Groundlings Theatre youth company, has played lead roles in several school productions as well as starring in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton and the Music Man at Chichester Festival Theatre.
He said: ‘It’s pretty difficult juggling school work and a lot of performance commitments but I just have to be very disciplined and work extra hard.
‘I’m so proud of this achievement. It’s not something that happens to people my age every day.’
Eddie’s mum Sue Manning said her son showed promise from as young as three when he would jump at the chance of dressing up and acting out books at Storytime nursery, in Southsea.
She said: ‘Eddie is a natural talent and it’s all come from him. He works incredibly hard and I am so proud of what he’s achieved.’