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Young Achiever: Sam’s the man for Teddy

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Sam Webel, star of the BMDS Christmas musical Teddy (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

Sam Webel is barking up the right tree when it comes to theatre.

The 14-year-old Saltus student first auditioned for a school production only two years ago but now he is getting ready for a starring role in the Bermuda Musical Dramatic Society’s Christmas musical Teddy.

Sam said: “In Bermuda, seeing the pantomime or Christmas musical is a big deal. It always warmed my heart.

“I would see the same people on the stage coming again and again and for me to be able to play a part in that — especially in the lead role — is humbling.

“I was also just excited to meet all these people who I had seen on stage before.”

Sam was always interested in the performing arts, but only turned his attention to theatre after a teacher urged him to audition for A Midsummer Night’s Dream two years ago.

He said: “I was not involved in theatre at the time, much less Shakespeare, but I decided I would give it my all. I tried out for Puck, and I got it.

“It was then that I realised the expansive world I was immersing myself in. Even just at Saltus, there are so many passionate people participating in theatre.”

He is a lifelong fan of the BMDS Christmas pantomimes so when the opportunity came to audition, he jumped at the chance.

To his elation, he not only landed a part in Teddy, he landed the part of Teddy.

He explained that the show, written by James Burn, is based on a true story that happened in Bermuda.

Sam said: “It’s based on a story that happened here a couple of years ago where a dog was saved from a shelter in Texas and brought to Bermuda. But not long after it arrived, it got flustered and got lost.

“A lot of people came out to try and find this dog, who was named Teddy.

“James Burn wrote this musical as a heart-warming adaptation of what happened to that dog, his journey.”

Balancing schoolwork and theatre was a challenge but he has been able to get into a routine that allows him to do both.

Sam said: “It is new for me, going from school to rehearsals, which can go late into the evening, but they have been very considerate and kept in mind how much homework I have.

“It is definitely a challenge, but it is rewarding.”

He urged other young people interested in getting involved in theatre to give it a try.

“Audition for a show at your school, or for Gilbert and Sullivan or BMDS’s many performances — particularly their pantos and Christmas musicals because there are opportunities for young people.

“It’s a welcoming environment. There are just so many people who are passionate about theatre.

“They have jobs and other things to do, but they all come together to put on a musical.”

Teddy will be performed at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall from December 6 to 15.

Tickets are available at ptix.bm.

Supporting roles: Sam Webel, centre, with fellow actors Zachary Kawaley-Lathan, left, and Shawn Angiers (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)