Former Springwood pupil from Leziate, near King’s Lynn, speaks of his delight at landing top acting award

An actor who grew up in a Norfolk village has spoken of his delight at winning a prestigious award which recognises the excellence of professional theatre.

David Thaxton, who was raised in Leziate, near King's Lynn, scooped an Olivier Award in the Best Actor in a Musical category for his portrayal of Giorgio in the Stephen Sondheim musical Passion.

The former Springwood High School student said: 'I didn't think I was going to win at all - in fact I was convinced I wouldn't win because of how strong my category was.

'It was bizarre enough to be there with all these people I really respect and I was just chuffed to be nominated.

'It was all a bit of a blur from the moment it was announced I had won and I vaguely remember making a speech. I felt like a rabbit in headlights.

'But it is wonderful to have won this award and I am hugely honoured. It was a massive shock but it is so nice to be recognised for something you have done that you were proud of.'

The actor was shortlisted with four other actors for the Olivier Award: Alex Gaunmond for Legally Blonde – The Musical at the Savoy theatre; Michael Xavier for Love Story at the Duchess theatre; Ramin Karimloo for Love Never Dies at the Adelphi theatre and Sahr Ngaujah for Fela! at the National Theatre Olivier.

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His parents, Jan and Rob, have also both spoken of their delight at their son winning the award.

Mrs Thaxton said: 'We were both there sat in the upper circle and it is fair to say everyone knew David was our son by our loud reaction when he won the award.

'We are both absolutely delighted and I am so proud of him. It is just an amazing feeling.'

She added: 'My phone has not stopped ringing and we have had so many cards put through our door.'

The 28-year-old, who also attended Grimston Primary School, has played leading roles in several productions for both the King's Lynn Operatic and Dramatic Society and King's Lynn Players over the years.

He also starred in Sweeney Todd for the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre both in Lynn and Norwich before winning a scholarship to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

After completing a four year course at the Welsh college, Thaxton got his professional debut performing at the opening gala at the Wales Millennium Centre in November 2004.

He then appeared in Les Mis�rables in the West End, playing Bamatabois, Courfeyrac and understudying Enjolras.

Thaxton then worked with the Welsh National Opera and choir Only Men Aloud before landing his leading role in Passion, which is no longer running. He is currently playing Raoul in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies.

Thaxton's co-star Elena Roger missed out on picking up best actress in a musical and the production lost out to another Sondheim production, Into The Woods, for best musical revival.

The Oliviers, established in 1976 as the Society of West End Theatre Awards, is the highest honour for London theatre. This year's event took place on Sunday evening at the Theatre Royal, London.