A TEN-year-old boy from Hazlemere has been treading the boards in the West End production of The Sound of Music.

Richard Linnell, who lives in Rose Avenue, beat more than a hundred other hopefuls to win the role of Kurt, the youngest of the Von Trapp family.

The youngster, who goes to Manor Farm Junior school, said: "It's really fun. You perform with all the big stars and everything."

Richard's first perfor-mance was last Tuesday at the Lon-don Palla-dium just off Oxford Street.

Every other week he will per-form three evening shows and a matinee before taking a week off to catch up with school work and relax.

His father Adam said: "We're very happy and very supportive of him. This is what he wants to do as a career and we'll support him all the way."

Richard had previously hit the small screen when he took part in Are you smarter than a 10 year old? - a quiz show in which adults answer questions based on the national curr-iculum for six to 10-year-olds. They are able to ask advice from a panel of children, one of whom was Richard. The show is hosted by popular kids TV presenters Dick (McCourt) and Dom (Wood), and sometimes by Noel Edmonds.

Richard said: "It was great because everyone there was very nice to me and we all got along because most of us were kids.

"Dick and Dom were probably the best because they're really fun."

Richard is also a junior associate at the Royal Ballet School, meaning that he gets a two and a quarter hour coaching session every Saturday. His mother Maria said: "We're very proud, and hope he will be successful in the future."