"My journey is 'get rich or die trying'," says young actor Courtney Mitchell.
He sounds scarily ambitious, but Courtney, who studies performance arts at West Thames College, Isleworth, is referring to the character he will play in the most important production of his life.
One of only 16 actors to be chosen from more than 300 members of the Lyric Young Company (LYC), Courtney is well on his way to carving out his dream as a professional actor.
Depth Charge, at Hammersmith's Lyric Theatre, is a collaborative piece of theatre created between the LYC actors and Gecko, a professional theatre group renowned for cutting-edge productions.
Laura Hepworth, 19, on a gap year after completing her studies between St Mark's School, in Hounslow, and Gumley House, in Isleworth, is also part of the chosen LYC team.
Her inspiration to audition came after seeing Metamorphosis, first staged at the Lyric in 2007. "At first I was scared," she says. "But I couldn't resist auditioning!"
Now she jokes that her main concern is for her body. "The physical side of the play is what I enjoy most, but it's also left me aching all over," she said. Her character is dressed as a ballerina, reluctant yet fascinated by the responsibility of office life, suits and boots. Courtney, whose acting dream began after taking GCSE drama, plays the role of a hungry young actor, not afraid to challenge those who get in his way.
"The characters are what we make of them, and of course it reflects a part of me," he says. "We're really going to shake people with the depth we've gone to to show our emotions."
Depth Charge, by Lyric Young Company and Gecko, is at The Lyric Theatre, Lyric Square, from Wednesday, August 20, until Saturday, August 22. £7/5. 8.15pm. £7/5. 6.45pm. Call 0871 22 117 29. See www.lyric.co.uk
Young people aged 14-19 can apply to be members of LYC, by downloading a membership form from www.lyric.co.uk, emailing email@example.com or calling 020 8741 6863.