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A Peterborough teenager beat hundreds of young performers from all over the country to win West End Calling competition.

West End performers Natalie May Paris, Cleve September, Laura Pick and Christina Bennington chose Layla Chivandire as the winner on Sunday at the Grand Final of the UK’s biggest search for young musical theatre talent.

Hosted by SIX and Juliet star, Grace Mouat, the show played at the Charing Cross Theatre in London’s West End as well as being streamed all over the world.

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The 17-year-old sang Two Little Lines by Drew Gasparini and received rave reviews from the West End judges.

To get to the final, Layla auditioned at the regional auditions in London in 2019. She then progressed through to the heats before the pandemic happened. After a year and a half of waiting, she was finally able to continue with the semi-finals in London before being selected as one of the 14 finalists.

As part of her prize, she will be performing on December 19, at Cadogan Hall in West End Does Christmas.



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Layla said: “It’s so overwhelming. I was definitely shocked when they called out my name, but that turned into extreme happiness and excitement very quickly.

“I’m beyond grateful for such an incredible opportunity and to the judges for spotting talent in me. The day was simply perfect, the West End Calling team made us feel comfortable and calmed our nerves so well.

“When it was my turn to rehearse my song with the band, I was initially petrified. However, the support from my fellow competitors settled me completely and made singing my song so much more enjoyable. When it came to the show, I didn’t feel like I was competing against anyone, instead, I was performing with everyone.”

West End Calling is a nationwide competition for aspiring musical theatre performers ranging from age 6-21.

They offer unique experiences to young performers all over the UK to get feedback from West End performers and perform throughout the competition in many different venues.

Layla added: “I’m so looking forward to Sunday as I’ll also be performing alongside my sister who is part of the GSA choir. I’m so excited to perform in such a beautiful venue like Cadogan Hall where I have seen many shows before.

“My main dream is to star on the West End in a show I love, with people I can call family and in a theatre, I can call home. After this, I would love to teach musical theatre in a youth drama group and maybe even start up my own.”

Speaking about Layla’s performance, creative director, Alex James Ellison said: “Layla is such a natural performer.

“Every time she has performed in this competition, the judges have been blown away and she deserves every success in the future.”

Auditions for next years competition will begin in the new year.



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