Rising star Jess takes to the stage

TALENTED singer and actress Jess Parnell has landed a role in a new family musical which will tour around Ripon and Harrogate.

The 15-year-old Ripon Grammar School fifth former, who won the Ripon’s Got Talent competition this summer, has been singing and performing since she was 11 years old.

She plays a young farmer in Drip Drop Theatre’s ‘The Pecking Order’, which tells the story of 17-year-old Amy, who moves with her family to rural North Yorkshire from York.

Jess, who wants to study performing arts at university, said she was thoroughly enjoying her role in the play by Harrogate teacher Emily Roberts, which explores how incomers are perceived in a rural community and the hierarchy which exists between female characters: “The music is really upbeat and different to what I usually do. It’s comical and so much fun.”

Jess has previously had roles in York Light Opera’s West Side Story, The King and I and Cats. She played grandma in the school’s recent production of Billy Elliot and is now also busy rehearsing her role as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda for the school’s house drama competition.

Currently studying GCSE music, Jess, who sings in the school’s senior girls and chamber choirs, as well as conducting and performing with Ripon's Rolling Tones choir, plans to take the subject for A-level.

*The Pecking Order opens on November 21 at All Saints, Kirkby Overblow followed by St John’s, Sharow (22), Ripley Town Hall (23) and the Mechanics, Kirkby Malzeard (24), all starting at 7.30pm. Box office: 01423 502116