Afghan orphan wins National Youth Theatre scholarship (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Tamim Sayed, 16, has won a scholarship to the National Youth Theatre after his parents were murdered by the Taliban in Afghanistan eight-years-ago
A teenager who fled Afghanistan after his parents were murdered by the Taliban is looking forward to a brighter future after winning a place in Daniel Craig’s old drama company.
Tamim Sayed, 16, moved in with relatives in Leyton after escaping his war torn homeland in 2006.
When he was just eight he returned home from school in Jalalabad to discover his parents had been kidnapped and killed.
His uncle later managed to secure him safe passage to the UK after hiding him for a month.
Now, the pupil at George Mitchell School in Farmer Road, Leyton, has been chosen ahead of thousands of applicants for a scholarship at the National Youth Theatre (NYT).
After a two-week induction in the summer, Tamim will be put forward for various auditions, including West End productions.
Describing the moment he was told he had won a place, he said: "I was not expecting it at all.
“I was alone and just started shouting and jumping around the room. I never thought someone like me would get into a place like that.
“Every Friday when I lived back home (Afghanistan) there would be a Bollywood movie on at a kind of cinema type place we would go to. That's where the acting bug started for me.”
Drama teacher Annabel Rook said: "He is such a sweet and humble kid that he was very reluctant to apply but I said to him 'you have genuine talent you have to go for it'.”
"One of the most important things we do here at George Mitchell is get the kids to believe in themselves.
"A lot of our kids come from tough backgrounds and often don't have the confidence to go after things like this.”
Tamim also paid tribute to his father and his teacher.
"I came to England in 2006 during the war. Where I come from in Jalalabad there was a lot of fighting as it is near the border with Pakistan,” He said.
"My dad was a military officer in Afghan National Army, my mum was a housewife.
"My dad got kidnapped by the Taliban because he was high up in the army. It is a very brave thing to do, be in the army, in the time of war.
"I have faced racism outside the school in the past so I was worried about that.
"But Annabel was with me the whole way, helping with my monologue and telling me that I was good enough to do it."
Former students of NYT include Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, and Orlando Bloom.
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