Princethorpe Pupil Rivals Theatre Greats With Olivier Award Aged Twelve
Not many people can lay claim to an Olivier Award and worldwide recognition at age twelve. However, rivalling the success of many theatre greats and musicians alike is exactly what Year 7 Princethorpe pupil Toby Lee is doing.
Southam-based Toby made his West End musical debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber's critically acclaimed ‘School of Rock the Musical’ last November. Playing the role of Zack Mooneyham in the Broadway-hit musical, Toby and his fellow School of Rock-ers scooped the 'Outstanding Achievement in Music' award at the 2017 Olivier Awards last night.
This coveted award went to the twelve child band members, including Toby, who rock their instruments live every show.
Toby's musical journey began at just 4-years-old when his Grandma bought him a yellow and green ukulele as a gift. When he was eight, he received his first full size electric guitar on Christmas Day and has not looked back since.
With a string of festival and individual performances to his bow, he is no stranger to the stage. Last September, Toby and the School of Rock cast played to an incredible 40,000 strong crowd at BBC Proms in the Park - in Hyde Park, London.
Alongside his School of Rock prestige, Toby’s individual talents have propelled his reputation at home and overseas. From the success of his YouTube channel and dedication to the late music legend BB King, Toby was invited by the musician’s daughters to play with his All Star Band in Memphis back in 2015.
More recently, Toby has found fame across America when he performed on NBC America’s ‘Little Big Shots’. The show, created by US Comedians Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey, features some of the world's most talented and extraordinary children. Aired on 19 March, Toby’s performance was uploaded to Facebook by the show and to date has been shared over 160,000 times and viewed by more than 12 million people.
You could argue that rubbing shoulders with the greats of theatre and showbiz is becoming something of the norm for twelve-year-old Toby. In spite of this, he remains very modest about his experiences. He comments, “I’m so proud that I am an Olivier Award winner! My experience with School of Rock has been an incredible adventure and I’ve loved every minute of it. My mum and dad think I’m amazing – but I’m just Toby and I love playing my guitar.”
Ed Hester, Headmaster, adds, “It’s been fantastic to see Toby’s talents develop over the years and his recent accolades are testament to his hard-work, devotion to and love of music. Joining the Princethorpe Foundation as a pupil at Crackley Hall School in 2014 and moving on to Princethorpe College last September, we’ve followed Toby’s musical journey with great admiration and we’re very proud to support him. Huge congratulations go to Toby and his fellow cast members – their achievement is thoroughly deserved.”
Image: Princethorpe Pupil Toby Lee with fellow Olivier Award winner Tim Minchin.