Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 08:51 UK

Teenager's 'dream' Les Mis start

Rhiannon Porter
Rhiannon Porter says she loves singing, dancing and acting

A teenager has landed her dream start in the hit musical Les Miserables just months after graduating.

Rhiannon Porter, 18, will join the show's UK tour and also understudy one of the lead characters after beating 500 others in an audition in Cardiff.

The teenager, from Blaenavon, Torfaen, who graduated from Coleg Gwent's Cross Keys campus in June, will appear alongside stars such as Gareth Gates.

She said she was "over the moon" to land her first professional job.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, and I don't think it will until opening night," said Ms Porter. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, the new production of the musical, the longest running show in West End history, will open at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in December.

Les Miserables poster
It's all I've ever wanted to do
Rhiannon Porter

Les Miserables is based on Victor Hugo's novel set in early 19th Century France, and follows a cast of characters over 20 years, exploring themes such as morality, religion and love.

The teenager plans to move to London after the international year-long show tour.

Her interest in musicals started at an early age and she has previously played leading roles in theatre group productions, including Carmen in Fame and Mimi in Coleg Gwent's production of Rent at the Dolman Theatre, in Newport, in March.

Coincidentally, she is also to understudy Fantine in Les Miserables - the first part she played in a local drama group.

"It's all I've ever wanted to do. I can't see myself doing anything else," she said.

"I love it all - singing, dancing and acting."

She also said the experience she had gained on her musical theatre course at Coleg Gwent had helped improve her audition technique and singing skills, and given her the confidence she needed to go for such a big audition.

Her course tutor at the college, Cheryl Harper, said: "Congratulations to Rhiannon, we wish her all the best in her exciting new role.

"Getting a part in such a high-profile musical as Les Miserables is a great achievement and we are all very proud of her."

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