Norwich teenager joins Young Americans

A talented teenager will be singing and dancing across the Atlantic next year as he lives out his own American dream.

Millions have been enticed by the hit US TV series Glee, but in just over one month Tom Mitchell, of West End, Old Costessey, will get the opportunity to be a part of a similar musical group as he becomes a Young American.

The former Costessey High School student has been accepted to The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts and as a result, will spend two years learning about the arts in California before potentially embarking on a tour in one of four countries across the globe.

Tom, 18, has attended three Young American workshops at his school in the past five years, but although he enjoyed singing and drumming, had never thought about this as a future.

However, after a workshop earlier this year he managed to catch their attention.

'I wasn't intending to do it, I just asked what it took to be a Young American. Then I was whisked away, asked lots of questions, told to sing and not long after was asked for a formal interview,' he said.

Next, Tom was required to send off an audition tape detailing his past, which has included a charity cycle ride from John o' Groats to Land's End with friend Richard Kennett for The Luke Day Adventure Fund.

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After being accepted on the course, Tom then had a race against time to get all of the relevant forms complete, buy flights and arrange his visa and meet the �8,000 cost.

'Most people apply a year before they go, so I found out quite late,' he said.

His mum, Debbie Davey, said: 'When he heard he stood there with such a grin on his face. I am really proud of him, it is an opportunity not to be missed.'

Tom flies out to California on August 28, where he will join 106 other young people at the college. He will be in the golden state for nine months, with the option of returning home for Christmas, as he studies Living Maths, Psychology and Performance. He will then return to the US next August for another nine months of study.

In the third year, he may get the opportunity to tour Germany, the US, UK or Japan with the workshops he has previously attended.

At the workshops, which Tom described as 'like Glee Club', they spend three days teaching children of all ages to sing and dance, before they put on a performance showing what they had learnt.

Are you travelling abroad to make the most of your talents? Contact reporter Richard Wood on 01603 772423 or email