A FORMER Kyle Academy pupil has paid tribute to the school ahead of his performance at a top UK acting festival.

Sam Stopford, was selected as one of 42 up and coming young actors preparing to take centre stage at the Sam Wanaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The festival will see students from leading drama schools across the country come together for a weekend of workshops led by the Globe’s resident text, movement and voice practitioners, culminating in a public performance of scenes by Shakespeare and his contemporaries and an uproarious jig.

And the former head boy at the Ayr secondary school, has told how one teacher helped inspire his love for Shakespeare.

Sam said: “I attended Kyle Academy in Ayr a brilliant school where I was proud to be head boy.

“Growing up in Ayr was when I had my first encounter with Shakespeare whilst studying Hamlet. I was lucky to have a teacher, Carol Johnson, whose enthusiasm for Shakespeare was infectious, she encouraged us to speak the words out loud, to perform them and this made all the difference.

“My school took part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival and participating in this event fuelled my love of Shakespeare even further.”

Sam went on to study at Glasgow school of Art and then onto the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where his love for Shakespeare continued to grow.

He added: “What I have always found so fascinating about Shakespeare is the universality of it, the fact that something so distant to us still remains so relevant.

“The reason I think we still love and need his plays is that they are essentially really human; we can recognise ourselves in them, for better or for worse.”

“We are moved by his plays and I think that is why they are so important. Now more than ever it is essential to focus on what connects us; our shared humanity.”

This year’s Sam Wanamaker festival will take place at the Shakespeare’s Globe on Saturday, March 29.

Sam added: “To perform at the Globe is such an honour, it’s a theatre for the people, and getting to step onto that stage and experience all that noise, life and energy will be incredibly humbling.”