Five star reviews for Anna

A teenager has wowed critics with her performance in a World War One drama at the Hackney Empire.

Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 2:30 pm
Anna Cookson, left, in Brass

Anna Cookson, of Scorton, was delighted when Benjamin Till’s Brass was given five star reviews by industry experts.The 17-year-old played the role of Titty in the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) production, which tells the story of a group of men from a Leeds-based brass band who sign up to fight as part of the Leeds Pals battalion. In their absence, the women, all munitions workers at the Barnbow factory, decide to learn the instruments the men have left behind in the hope of playing triumphantly for them on their return from war. Anna, who attends Lancaster Girls Grammar School, said: “It was probably the most amazing experience of my whole life. I have done shows before, but in smaller venues. The Hackney Empire is so impressive and beautiful, which made it really special.“London critics tend to be really harsh, so to get five stars is amazing and I am really proud to be part of that.“I feel the whole world needs to see it because it is a really beautiful show and the cast is so talented.”The show has now finished but she will return to perform highlights for NYMT’s 40th anniversary concert at the West End in October. She will also be doing a Christmas Concert at St John’s Smith Square in London.Anna’s dad, Ian, said: “We are really proud. We have seen how high the standard was, hence the well deserved reviews. Anna had a speaking part, as well as being in the chorus. Everyone was fantastic.”NYMT has been dubbed as “the finest youth music theatre in the world” by world famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and its past students include Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Idris Elba and Matt Lucas.As part of her training, Anna took part in a week-long residential in Kent before spending three weeks of her summer rehearsing for the three performances last month.She also travelled to France to learn more about the experiences of the young men who fought at the Somme and the girls they left behind.

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Anna Cookson, third left
Anna Cookson, third left