Year 5 pupil Joel Thomas is approaching the culmination of four wonderful months in which he has played Kolya in the hit production Three Days in the Country at the National Theatre. Patrick Marber’s take on Ivan Turgenev’s passionate, moving comedy, A Month in the Country, has been running at the National Theatre since July and Joel has taken on the huge responsibility of playing the only child role in the production.
It should come as no surprise that Joel has found his way onto the big stage as his mother, Carryl Thomas, has had a glittering acting career, starring in the likes of Holby City, Family Affairs and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Carryl’s career was nurtured by Michelle Burke, an agent at Gavin Barker Associates, for 15 years. It was when Michelle decided to expand the agency and open a children’s division that Joel’s opportunity came about. Thanks to the tireless work of Joel’s step-father Wil, who explored the script and helped him rehearse, Joel was successful at audition and needless to say his opening night was one to remember for the whole family.
“Joel’s opening night was one of my proudest moments”, Carryl said. “The National Theatre was where I made my theatre debut and ironically on the Lyttleton Theatre stage where Joel performed.”
However, Joel is no stranger to the performing arts world. His first theatre appearance was in Suor Angelica at The Royal Opera House in 2010, whilst he has been modelling since the age of four and has appeared in several music videos and commercials too.
It is a credit to his parents that Joel remains so grounded in amongst the bright lights. He loves being at Homefield and is equally as passionate about Sports and Science as he is about Drama. So whilst he has a few important auditions coming up, Carryl and Wil are very aware of the importance of his schooling.
“If and when opportunities arise I will always ensure we discuss them and make decisions as a family”, Carryl said. “Joel has really enjoyed this experience and would like to do more work in the future but our main focus is looking towards a good senior school for now”.
Joel was just as pragmatic about the future. “I love doing the show and all the actors are kind”, he said. “The late nights are hard as it’s past my bedtime but Mummy still makes me finish my homework.“
It would be no surprise to see other Homefield children follow Joel onto the big stage in the near future as Carryl has begun teaching a Speech and Drama club at the Sutton Prep School.
“The speech and drama club is brilliant”, she said. “The boys are vibrant and enthusiastic and are already inspiring me. I have so many ideas and can't wait to get the boys into a familiar routine where they can really begin to thrive.”