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A “talented pair” of former Northampton College students are preparing to travel the country in the UK tour of West End hit, Motown The Musical.

Ethan Davis and Deearna McLean landed understudy roles in the hit show after successful auditions this summer. Beginning next month, the pair will take the performance to 25 UK cities over 15 months.

The dedicated professionals have had to learn dozens of parts in preparation for the tour, which could see them called upon to cover cast absence.

Rehearsing for eight hours a day, six days a week, Ethan has been required to learn every male ensemble part, as well as the role of Smokey Robinson. The 21-year-old studied a Level 3 diploma in Musical Theatre at Northampton College before he gained a place at the American Musical Theatre Academy in London. Deearna also completed the same course at Northampton College.

Ethan, from East Hunsbury, thanked his college tutors for steering him in the right direction and added: “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. When I was at a crossroads over which direction to go in they advised me on the best route to take to achieve my aspirations.

“The course was fantastic – just like a drama school. It prepared me for what was to come. I began drama school with an advantage. The experiences I had at college boosted my confidence in singing, dancing and acting, enabling me to go on and be successful at drama school and ultimately auditions.”

Currently rehearsing at a studio in London, the pair will travel to Birmingham this week to begin final rehearsals at the Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre before the curtain goes up on Thursday, October 11.

Northampton College Musical Theatre tutor Suzanne Bushen said: “I am delighted to hear that this talented pair of former students are putting what they have learnt into practice on the UK stage. I’m incredibly proud to see what they have achieved so far and I look forward to hearing about the opportunities I am sure will come their way in the future.”

The pair have become the latest former Booth Lane students to be involved in the jukebox musical telling the story of his time running the legendary US record label and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson.

They are following in the footsteps of Natalie Kassanga, who also featured in girl band Alien Uncovered in the 2015 X Factor. She recently took on the role of Diana Ross in the West End version of Motown at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London.

lewis parry website

A Northampton College student has been hailed a ‘lifesaver’ having come to the aid of a disabled woman who had fallen out of her wheelchair and was lying unconscious on the floor.

Lewis Parry, a health and social care student at the college’s Booth Lane campus, was given a round of applause from fellow students as a result of his actions.

The 18–year-old, from Melton Road North, Wellingborough rushed over to the stricken woman who had collapsed close to where he was due to catch the bus into college on Friday, September 28.

He said: “She had fallen face down on the pavement and was unresponsive, not breathing at all. A couple of people had just walked past but I stopped to see if she was ok and when it became obvious that she wasn’t I rang for an ambulance to make sure she got the help she needed.

“I helped to move her into the recovery position, holding her neck to keep her still and when the paramedics arrived they assessed the situation and took her to hospital.

“The idea of leaving somebody on their own in a situation like this scares me, I instinctively knew I needed to help. I feel proud, and actually blessed, to have been able to experience something like this that makes me know that if it happens again in the future I will know exactly what to do.

“I have been learning about things such as CPR, the recovery position and how one injury can lead onto others and the content of the college course really helped me on the day. To be able to put into practice what we have been taught in a real life situation is an incredible feeling. I hope the lady is ok and recovering well.”

As a result of his intervention, Lewis was late into college but when staff discovered the reasons why his tutors were informed and the teenage hero walked into class to a round of applause from fellow students.

Tutor Laura Thorpe said: “I feel incredibly proud of Lewis. When others were walking by he crossed over the road and sought help very quickly. His course has been helpful to him and given him an understanding and a sense of duty to other people.”


Education is changing. The tried and tested model of GCSEs, A Levels and University, for so long seen as the go-to route for a generation of young people eager to make their mark in the world of work, is evolving.

With an increasing demand for Apprenticeships and more vocational qualifications it’s up to us as a college to meet that demand, to change the way we work and to make our courses more relevant than ever before.

It means shifting our focus away from ‘traditional’ routes into Higher Education.

An ever-expanding range of BTEC courses are viewed by UCAS as equivalent qualifications to A Levels and they have the advantage of combining classroom study with practical, hands-on experience of a career to last a lifetime.

No longer do students merely study for an exam, they prepare for their future.

We want to offer the qualifications that matter most to students and employers alike. We want business leaders to see your CV and sit up and take notice. The workforce of the future needs an education it can be proud of, equipping them with the skills to prepare them for a long and successful career.

From 2020, the Government is looking to roll out a new qualification, T Levels. Ahead of this change we want to make sure both students and employers benefit from the extended work placement opportunities these courses will require.

Already we have established a partnership with 50 of the leading businesses in Northamptonshire to offer almost 200 placements to young people. This number will continue to grow and opportunities will keep on coming.

It’s an exciting change and it’s a change we look forward to playing our part in.

As the leading college in region, Northampton College continues to be at the forefront of pioneering, innovative education – leading the way to a brighter, better beginnings and ensuring Northamptonshire’s workforce is fit for the future.

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Nicola Bridges

Nicola Bridges

Professional musician Nicola Bridges has starred on stage and performed her own cabaret show, but decided to head back to the classroom at Northampton College to add another string to...



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