RIBBLE VALLEY crooner Nicholas James Gunn is shooting for the stars after collecting a top am-dram gong.

Gunn, from Langho, landed the prize for his performance in the category of Best Leading Male in a Musical at the National Operatic and Dramatic Association awards.

Gunn wowed the judges with his showstopping portrayal of Bill Snibson in Blackburn Musical Theatre Company’s Me and my Girl.

The show, staged at Blackburn’s Thwaites Empire, featured Gunn as the leading man in Douglas Furber’s 1930s musical.

Gunn, who attended St Augustine’s High School, Billington, and St Mary’s College, Blackburn, has been a part of Blackburn Musical Theatre Company since 2009, where he initially starred in the company’s production of Anything Goes.

“I had no acting background whatsoever and I only came to this by chance, so it was a shock to win the award because it is just a hobby for me at the moment,” said Gunn.

Gunn, who sang in his school choir and also played in the swing band, caught the acting bug when he was invited to the Thwaites Empire by a family friend to see their production of Fiddler on the Roof.

“One of the cast said I should give it a try and explained that there was a small role going in the next production,” Gunn recalled. When I got home and opened the script it was the lead role (Billy in Anything Goes). It has gone from there really and it is so much fun.”

The 22-year-old, who works as a project manager at British Aerospace, has since played leading parts in Guys and Dolls, Carousel and Crazy For You. He praised the influence of Blackburn Musical Theatre Company’s Tony Fry and Gary Worthy, choreographer Katie Fry and musical director for Me and My Girl, Chris Andrews.

“They’ve all helped me enormously and since the award I’ve been offered several parts in other productions, but right now I’m still studying for a degree at Lancaster University and working full-time, so that’s had to go on the back burner for the time being,” he added.

“Everyone at the theatre company has been fantastic ever since I first stepped into rehearsals as a 17-year-old.

“I’ve done tap-dancing, singing and all sorts, so I’ve learned so much from them all.”

Gunn proudly performed at Liverpool’s St George’s Concert Hall alongside world-renowned opera star Roy Wessensteiner, with other members of his musical society.

“That was amazing. You learn so much from working with incredible talents like Wessensteiner because he has learned a living from his voice,” added Gunn.

“It is brilliant for the show to be recognised following the hard work put in by everyone involved with the company and I’d recommend joining them to anyone.”