TWO Swindon Academy students hope to follow in the footsteps of singers Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith after being selected to represent the Youth Music Theatre.

Rebecca Timms, 17, and Marlee Ferguson, 14, competed in a national audition and went up against 1,200 other teenagers aged between 11 and 21 for their places.

The pair impressed the judges with their singing, acting and dancing skills and have both won coveted roles in the theatre group’s forthcoming productions.

Year 12 pupil Rebecca will be performing in Fagin, at the Wilde Theatre in Bracknell, and Marlee will feature in The Midnight Flower Press, at Barbican Theatre in Plymouth. The productions will both take place in August.

Both youngsters aim to become part of the Youth Music Theatre’s famous alumni, which includes the two Brit award winning singers as well as West End leading lady Lauren Samuels, BBC 3’s Bad Education actor Jack Bence and Channel 4’s Fresh Meat actress Charlotte Ritchie.

Rebecca said: “I didn’t believe it when the school told me. I was so overwhelmed and extremely surprised to get a place. I didn’t think at 17 I would be featuring in a production of this level. My aim is to become a cruise ship singer or perform in the West End.”

Marlee said: “It is really crazy. I feel really joyful and happy to get through. I really enjoyed the audition process and showed a lot of confidence. In the future, I want to be a person everyone knows and loves my music.”

The pupils thanked their school, families and friends for the support they’ve received.

Leigh Matthews, Swindon Academy’s head of music, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and very proud of the two of them as they’ve represented Swindon Academy proudly.

“They have put in lots and lots of hard work. This will give them a great opportunity to perform with other exceptional talents of a similar age and develop their skills.”

Before they take to the stage the two performers will take part in a residential course to develop their talents.