A TALENTED performer from Newtown St Boswells has earned the opportunity to work with a celebrated Broadway composer.

Former Earlston High School pupil Gareth Williams, who is training for a Musical Theatre diploma at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts in Edinburgh, was mentored by Jonathan Reid Gealt when he visited The MGA Academy. 

The composer has released multiple albums and his songs have been performed as part of shows in sold-out venues across the world.

Gareth, 19, who grew up performing in shows such as Sunshine On Leith and Hairspray with the Galashiels Amateur Operatic Society, said: “I’ve always loved performing and wouldn’t want to do anything else with my life. 

“When I first auditioned for a place at The MGA Academy, I was really nervous as I’d never done anything like it before.

“Getting to learn from Jonathan Reid Gealt was an amazing experience. 

“He asked me to sing a song called For Forever from the musical Dear Evan Hansen and then he helped me work on giving an emotional performance. 

“I feel so much more confident since learning from Jonathan and have already put into practice what he taught me.”

Gareth added: “When I finish my training, I would like to work as a performer on a cruise ship. Eventually, I’d like to work in television.”

Jonathan Reid Gealt, who is based in New York City, said: “I’ve been very impressed with the staff and students at The MGA Academy in the past and so I like to visit every time I’m in Scotland.

“Whilst mentoring Gareth and his fellow students, I tried to get them to think about how to best tell stories through songs. 

“I encouraged them to try and relate songs and lyrics to things that they have experienced in their own lives.”

Applications for places on The MGA Academy’s full-time courses are welcomed from local performers with similar aspirations to Gareth. 

The next audition will take place in Edinburgh on March 18. 

To apply, visit: www.themgaacademy.com/apply/