TWO FORMER Stanwell School students with a passion for music have won a prestigious award.

Freya Smith and Jack Williams were presented with the Fred Ebb Award for song-writing – which included a prize of $60,000 – at a ceremony at the American Airlines Theatre in New York.

The award, bestowed by the Fred Ebb Foundation, recognises excellence in musical theatre songwriting, and is given in memory of the famous lyricist of Cabaret and Chicago.

The evening showcased three of Ms Geary-Smith and Mr Williams’ songs, performed by Broadway actors Erika Henningsen and Krystina Alabado.

Ms Smith and Mr Williams’ most recent musical is RIDE which tells the story of Annie Londonderry, who claimed to be the first woman to cycle around the world in 1894. It will have its American premiere at The Old Globe (San Diego) in March 2024.

Both Ms Smith and Mr Williams developed a love for musicals at a young age, which was developed by the music department at Stanwell School under Jan Richards.

Ms Smith also attended the Pat Batho-Davies School of Performing Arts and loved performing musical theatre songs there. She attributes her love of words and English to her parents – as they were always reading to her – along with her English teacher while she attended Stanwell School: Fiona Woolley.

Mr Williams developed a love of song writing when playing and performing in various bands with school friends, including ‘The Brickhouse’ band (which won the local ‘Penarth’s Got Talent’ competition in 2008).

After leaving Stanwell School, Ms Smith studied English Language and Literature at Oxford and Jack read Law at Durham University. Both have a master’s degree in musical theatre composition from Goldsmiths, University of London.

The duos work has been performed at UK venues including: The Garrick, The Other Palace, The Roundhouse, Leicester Curve and The Leicester Square Theatre, and developed with London drama schools including The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and ArtsEd.