Acting students to follow in footsteps of Hollywood legends Grace Kelly and Robert Redford

Acting students to follow in footsteps of Hollywood legends Grace Kelly and Robert Redford

Posted On 18th March 2015 By Nichola Taylor

Two Newcastle College students are following in the footsteps of screen legends Grace Kelly and Robert Redford by securing a place at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA).

Luke Neville and Aniella Lucia who are studying a Foundation Degree in Musical Theatre, beat off stiff competition to be offered places at the famous drama school based in New York. They will join the Academy in September once they have completed their course at the College.

The Academy, which was founded in 1884, has an impressive list of alumni from past and present, including Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Anne Bancroft, Danny Devito, Paul Rudd and Kim Cattrall.

Studying at the Academy is a dream come true for 20 year old Luke who lives in Sherburn Village, Durham.

He said: “I feel completely overwhelmed and incredibly excited to know that I will be studying in New York from September. When I auditioned for a place at the Academy in October I had to prepare two contrasting monologues from published plays then travel to London to perform them and take part in an interview at St Martin’s Lane Hotel. Newcastle College has been a huge contributor to my success. The course has taught me everything I need to know before entering the arduous business of Musical Theatre. I’ve learned that having the right training is key to a successful career and this has no doubt helped me to secure a place at AADA.

“I have been so fortunate to have performed with many amateur theatre companies in the north east and to have roles in Phantom of the Opera at the Gala Theatre and A Chorus Line at the Tyne Theatre coming up. Getting a place at AADA has been a personal goal. I am so excited to work with new writers and creative teams when I graduate and with the city of Manhattan as my future playground, who knows what could happen.”

Aniella, 21, travelled over from her native New Zealand to study at Newcastle College. Having always been exposed to music and the arts from a young age and with family members working in the music industry, Aniella always knew that she wanted to perform. Her talent has already won her the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in the West End Operatic Society’s Production of Hairspray coming to the Tyne Theatre and Opera House in April.
Aniella said: “I am thrilled to be offered a place at such an amazing institution. The Academy’s alumni have been nominated for 96 Oscars, 245 Emmys and include actors such as Anne Hathaway and Paul Rudd.

The College has definitely played a huge part in enabling me to get to this point. My tutors have supported and encouraged me to strive for what I want and this gave me the confidence to audition for a huge school that I honestly thought I would never get in to. If it hadn’t been for this course, I wouldn’t have even heard of the Academy. The facilities at the College are of a similar standard to some of the country’s leading dance and acting schools and the opportunities that we have had to work with industry has been amazing. We often have guest speakers and master classes and last year we got to visit New York where we met with Catherine Charlebois who plays Nessarose in Broadway’s Wicked.”

Carly Woodhouse, Course Leader for Musical Theatre at Newcastle College, said: “I am very proud of the students gaining a place at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. We visited New York last March as a department and some of the students have researched colleges and now aim to study and live there. We have a growing alumni who are really making their mark in industry.”

For more information on the Foundation Degree in Musical Theatre or any of the College’s higher education courses, visit or contact 0191 2004000. The College will also be holding an HE Open Evening on Wednesday 18 March between 5-7pm.