A YOUNG autistic actor from Bournemouth is advancing closer to his dreams of performing in the West End.

Fenton Loader, a student at Autism Unlimited’s specialist sixth form in Christchurch, has secured a college place studying drama full-time.

He will begin the BTEC Theatre Studies course at Brockenhurst College in September.

The 17-year-old said it is an “exciting” time for him having recently appeared as Macbeth on stage at The Lighthouse Theatre in Poole.

Fenton said: “I just can’t wait to get started in September and show everyone what I can do.”

He first started performing whilst at mainstream primary school and took on his first-ever role as Pumba in The Lion King at aged 10.

He said: “I had a blind audition, and I was very nervous, but I couldn’t wait to do it at the same time.

“I loved being on the stage acting as it gave me more confidence. I felt I could really express myself.”

Bournemouth Echo: Fenton LoaderFenton Loader (Image: Deep South Media)

Fenton then made the move to Portfield School which is operated by Autism Unlimited- a charity that provides education, support and training to autistic people and their families.

He said: “Being at mainstream school was very difficult for me because my autism means I respond to some situations differently and this meant I struggled with managing my emotions sometimes.

“Once I started at Portfield School I was flying, because the teachers there understand me and have been able to help me learn and also discover my acting talent.”

Fenton is now more ready than ever to kickstart his acting career and is not letting anything hold him back.

He said: “All autistic people are different. We still have the same ambitions and dreams and we love fun. But mostly, people think about what we can’t do.

"My autism actually helps my acting because I am an expert at learning lines and the organised way in which I think means I can go over and over them in my head, wherever I am.

“I’m proof of what autistic people can do.

“I want to be an actor one day and of course my ambition would be to star in the West End. So, watch this space.”