Budding East Ham actor defeats lisp to win a drama school place

A teenager from East Ham has overcome a speech impediment to clinch a place at one of the most prestigious drama schools in the country.

Jay Warn, 18, of High Street South, will join fellow budding actors in September when he takes up a place on a three-year course at the Italia Conti school of theatre arts in Barbican.

Jay has battled a lisp since childhood which hindered his confidence but finally sought help from a speech therapist who helped him overcome the problem enough to impress in his audition.

“I’ve always wanted to become an actor,” Jay told the Recorder.

“I knew I needed to go to drama school and get the training but it is really competitive and I got rejection after rejection.

“I knew the lisp was holding me back. So Italia Conti put me in touch with a speech therapist and within four sessions it had really improved. The audition was probably the hardest thing I have gone through - there were three rounds and I was really nervous.

“Now I feel so confident about going into the industry. I can’t wait to begin the intensive training and hopefully become a stronger performer.”

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Therapist Annie Morrison helped Jay get to grips with his lisp by explaining exactly what he was doing wrong in positioning his tongue while forming words. Progress was fast but not without setbacks.

“At first, it felt like a different person was speaking,” Jay admitted.

“It felt as if I was doing an accent and was weird and embarrassing. But every day it got easier.

“Now I am just looking forward to being myself. I love theatre. My ideal role would probably be in some sort of period drama because I love history.”