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Theatre world unites to celebrate aspiring actor Lewis Sewell, diagnosed with terminal cancer

The actor was a regular on the Derby Theatre boards

Lewis Sewell

The theatre community has come together to celebrate aspiring actor Lewis Sewell.

Sewell has been performing for much of his life, having spent a decade with Derby Youth Choir and had been preparing for auditions at RADA, LAMDA, Central and Guildford when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

With a passion for both musical theatre and natural plays, Sewell had performed in productions of Into the Woods, A Christmas Carol and more. He also appeared in a youth production of Laura Lomas's new piece The Blue Road, which ran at Derby Theatre in July 2017.

Director at Derby Youth Theatre Nicky Bellenger said: Sewell is an "excellent actor, but also a great artistic collaborator, contributing ideas in the rehearsal process." She added: "Out of everything I have worked on over the last *cough* 11...ish years, I am most proud of your production of The Blue Road, and that's down to who you all were as a company."

In October of last year, Sewell discovered he had a rare cancer and, recently, the decision was taken to cease treatment.

Following a call-out from members of the theatre world on social media, Sewell has received messages from artists from across the West End and beyond including the likes of Ben Platt, Sam Tutty, Maxine Peake, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Benj Pasek and more. Sewell has also recently appeared on BBC Nottingham to share his story and his love for performance.

Sewell's mother Gillian said: "Lewis is an incredible young man who was studying drama at college in Nottingham until October 2019 before a Metastatic Rhabdoid tumour took over his life. Despite chemo the tumour has continued to grow. The decision was taken only just over a week ago to stop any further treatment.

"We are now doing everything we can to support Lewis in his last few days with his family. Lewis absolutely adores all musical theatre and his current favourites include Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. We are trying to get as many messages of love and support to Lewis as soon as possible because of the very short time left.

Gillian Sewell reitterated that anyone wanting to get in touch with Lewis can do so: "If there is any way you could help get messages of support from actors, musicians or musical theatre people he would love to receive them. The timing right now is clearly urgent and would be very welcomed." Sewell has a Twitter page here.

Alix-Manning-Jones, cultural education producer at Derby Theatre said: "My favourite memories were of you playing 'Dad' in our version of Romeo and Juliet when you were in 11-13s group.

"That was 2016 and seems just 5 minutes ago since I was working with you on that stage in Derby Theatre. It's incredible to see how much you have grown into a talented young actor. Thank you for making our Sundays so bright, you will always shine Lewis: a true star."

Sewell has asked for one of his monologues to be shared – you can watch it below: