A Batley-born actor debuted in his first West End role last month in Cameron Mackintosh’s successful and award winning production Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre in London.
Yuval Zoref, of Rudding Drive, plays a US Marine in the unforgettable story of the horrors of the Vietnam War that finally came to an end in 1975.
The 24-year-old began his training at the Stuart Stage School in Heckmondwike at an unusually late age of sixteen, where he trained in all genres of dancing, singing and acting.
His mum, Sonia Zoref, said: “Having had a troubled early teenage life in school and feeling that he didn’t quite fit in any where, he left school and went on to art college.
Once again, despite his obvious talent and love of art, he felt this wasn’t for him and having two younger sisters at dance school he decided to tip his toes in to the dance world. As a youngster he was always into football and basketball and his father and I never thought for one moment that this would be his vocation. But he has never looked back. From his fist step in to the dance studio, he knew this was where he belonged.”
With support from his teachers at Stuarts Stage School, Yuval applied for a place on the dance diploma course at Calderdale College, and on completion, he applied at numerous prestigious dance schools across the country and was accepted at them all.
Yuval chose to complete a three-year performing arts diploma, with a full scholarship, at Bodyworks Performing Arts and Dance College in Cambridge. And during his training he appeared on the BBC’s Royal Variety Performance as a backing dancer for Take That.
Mrs Zoref added: “This was Yuval’s first audition in the West End, so we were all so excited for him, and of course so incredibly proud. Yuval has worked very hard these last few years, he knew where he wanted to be, and never aimed at anything less than the stars. With talent, dedication and a lot of hard work he has finally made his dream come true. And when I look back, I can hardly believe that the little boy with the parka coat with the hood always up, that stood back in the shadows, is now a centre stage success himself.
“It just goes to show, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, if you believe in yourself and work hard, it can, and will pay off.”