21 year old RADA student Taron Egerton won the coveted Stephen Sondheim Society Student Perfomer of The Year Award 2011 in the finale of the competition at the Queens Theatre in London's West End on Sunday May 22nd. The competition featured all 12 finalists selected from the qualifying heats and required them to perform 2 songs, a Sondheim number and a new work from a musical theatre composer. Taron chose to sing "Giants In The Sky" from Into The Woods and "May As Well And Why Not" by Craig Adams and Nona Shepherd.
Taron hails from North Wales where he established himself as a more than competent performer with Aberystwyth Arts Centre featuring in Oliver, Little Shop Of Horrors, The Tempest & Return To The Forbidden Planet. More recently with RADA he has excelled in Three Sisters, A Doll's House, Ajax and The Brothers Karamazov, proving that he is much more than a one trick pony.
Asked why Taron stood out as the unanimous winner, judge, Kerry Ellis (pictured below with Taron) said one thing that set him apart was his totally believable understated performance which was echoed by another of the judges Timothy Sheader who recently produced Into The Woods at the Regents Park Open Air. Anna Francolini thought that his ability to hit and hold every note made his performances faultless, whilst composer and musical director, Sarah Travis, thought that there was a magic in his ability to draw the audience into the songs that he performed. Edward Seckerson, chair of the judges, believed that in another year anyone of the 12 would have been good enough to win but Taron gave a complete performance and as it says in the title it is "Performer Of The Year".
Pictured right is Taron reprising Giants In The Sky as the competition winner, and below right receiving his cheque for £1,000 from Patrick Hayward, CEO of Overtures (The Bunnett-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust) who donated the award. A final word from presenter Julia McKenzie who told Taron that his performance was faultless - no faint praise.