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Ashville pupil shines in play directed by Oscar winner

Ava Bounds is starring in The Ferryman, directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes
Ava Bounds is starring in The Ferryman, directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes

An Ashville College pupil is starting the New Year with a starring role in a critically-acclaimed West End play.

Ava Bounds, who is in Year seven, is playing the part of Nunu Carney in The Ferryman, which is directed by world-renowned Oscar winning stage and film director, Sam Mendes.

She is following in the footsteps of a number of well-known Ashville alumni, including theatre and film director, Tony Richardson, and Downton Abbey star, Jim Carter.

The play, which is being performed at the Gielgud Theatre, had its world premier at the Royal Court Theatre last year and is the fastest-selling play in the venue’s history.

Written by Jez Butterworth, The Ferryman is set in 1981 rural Northern Ireland against the background of the “Troubles” and centres around the Carney family. It recently picked up three “gongs” at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, including Best Play.

Ava - who last year had her first professional role as Nellie in “Annie Get Your Gun”, at the Sheffield Crucible - secured her role having impressed director Sam Mendes during an intense audition process against hundreds of other hopefuls.

Ashville College Headmaster Richard Marshall said: “We are delighted for Ava being cast in this starring role. It’s a fabulous start to her acting career.

“Starring in a West End play, and one directed by someone as highly respected as Sam Mendes, is a fantastic achievement and richly deserved.”

Alongside being educated at Ashville College, Ava trains at The American School of Acting in Harrogate, where young artists, aged 11-18, learn acting skills to help them advance into the industry.