Chesterfield: Holly Sumpton and Lucy Telfer offered places at top drama school

BEST friends cried tears of joy after finding out they had been awarded places at one of the best colleges in the world.

Against all odds, Holly Sumpton and Lucy Telfer have been accepted for the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama after competing against thousands of students.

The offer comes from the school where Dame Judi Dench trained and still visits to share her knowledge with students.

Holly, 17, of Gladwin Gardens, Walton, Chesterfield, has won a place on a musical theatre course and Lucy, 18, of New Queen Street, Newbold, Chesterfield, a place on an acting course.

Both offers are conditional on them getting two grade Cs at A-level.

Admission to the school would see the pair joining small classes of 10-15 students at a school which is funded, enabling people to study at the same cost as going to university rather than the tens of thousands of pounds at other prestigious training establishments.

Holly, a pupil at St Mary’s RC High School, said: “It is amazing to be able to share this. I met Lucy through Chesterfield Operatic Society and to be able to go to London with her is amazing.”

After a rigorous selection process in which the pals recited Ophelia’s speech from Hamlet and had to improvise scenarios, they faced an agonising wait for news. Holly was on tenterhooks for four weeks and Lucy for a fortnight. Lucy said: “The waiting was the worst part, You have so much pressure from other people and it is hard to live up to other people’s expectations.”

The Brookfield Community School student learned of her success via email. She said: “I cried for ten minutes; I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know about Holly at that time.”

Holly was out walking her dog when she got a call from Lucy asking her if she had looked at her emails. She said: “When I got in and checked them, I phoned Lucy and we were crying and screaming down the phone at each other.”

During champagne celebrations with their families, Holly tucked into a takeway meal and Lucy enjoyed a cake.

Lucy, a pupil of Diane Bradbury School of Theatre Dance, is the daughter of professional actors George Telfer and his wife Susie. George said: “We are thrilled to bits but not surprised because Lucy is very good.

“Central is one of the top five drama schools in the world. Central and RADA are like the Oxford and Cambridge of drama schools.

“What is so amazing is the fact that two of them from a little town have got in, especially when they see five and a half to six thousand people.”

Holly’s father is the folk musician Martin Sumpton. Speaking on behalf of his wife, he said: “Hayley and I are both really proud of Holly. She has worked so hard at her musical theatre skills and she loves it so much, it is amazing for her to have been offered this opportunity.”

The pair studied performance arts at Chesterfield Studios where principal Jonathan Francis said: “We are very proud of them. It is definitely harder being northern - when you have got a lot of Home Counties’ people and a few token northerners to make up numbers, the northerners have to be better than the others.

“I will be sad to see them go. However, we have a new generation coming up and by the time they leave, they will be leaving with equal experience to Holly and Lucy.”