Page 3 Profile: Tamim Sayed, schoolboy

 

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The Independent Online

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…Tamim Sayed. An Afghan orphan who arrived in the UK eight years ago unable to speak English, Tamim has expressed his joy at being awarded a place at the National Youth Theatre. The 16-year-old performed impressively in auditions, securing a scholarship for the prestigious theatre’s two-week summer school. After the course he will be eligible to audition for the theatre’s West End plays.

Tamim goes to Hollywood?

It’s a distinct possibility. Alumni of the company include Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig and Daniel Day-Lewis, to name but a few. For Tamim, it is a dream come true. The aspiring actor said: “Every Friday when I lived back home in Afghanistan there would be a Bollywood movie on at a kind of cinema-type place we would go to. That’s where the acting bug started. Now I will be walking in the footsteps of Hollywood superstars like Orlando Bloom, Ben Kingsley and Helen Mirren. It’s mad.”

It’s a long way from Afghanistan…

The GCSE pupil fled his home in Jalalabad eight years ago when his parents were kidnapped and murdered while Tamim, then an eight-year-old, was in school. He was hidden by one of his uncles for a month before he managed to flee to England to live with family in Leyton, east London, where he attends the George Mitchell School. It was here that he was encouraged to pursue his interest in acting.

He was a natural performer?

Tamim said he hesitated before applying for the scholarship at the NYT because he felt it was “very daunting”. “Because I’m Asian and from Afghanistan, I was worried because you don’t see that many Asian Hollywood stars”. However, drama teacher Annabel Rook convinced him to do it. Of her protégé Ms Rook said: “He is such a sweet and humble kid that he was very reluctant to apply, but I said to him ‘you have genuine talent you have to go for it’.”

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