DRUMMING sensation Annabel Gracey is blazing a trail for female musicians at the age of just 12.

The Thackley youngster has landed what was originally a boy’s role in West End musical School of Rock, based on the hit Jack Black movie.

Her skills on the drums impressed audition judges so much, show composer Andrew Lloyd Webber changed the part of the drummer, Freddy, just to include her.

It’s a dream come true for Annabel, who had hoped to join the cast ever since she watched them on TV.

“I once saw the School of Rock perform on the X Factor and thought how much I wanted to be in it,” she says.

She found out about an audition through a friend, and decided to try her luck.

She says: “When I found out I had been offered the role of Freddy I couldn’t believe it, especially as this has always been played by a boy. I was so excited, happy and amazed.”

Annabel has been taking drumming lessons since she was eight and parents Sarah Gracey-Shaw and Jonathan Shaw say this recognition is well-deserved.

“We are extremely proud of Annabel. She worked so hard throughout the audition process and it’s lovely seeing her dedication pay off,” they say.

“We still can’t quite believe she landed this role and have to pinch ourselves from time to time.

“Despite knowing from the beginning of the audition process the challenge that lay ahead, her talent and enthusiasm shone and we are so pleased this was recognized.”

The stage musical revolves around struggling rock musician Dewey Finn, played by Jack Black in the 2003 film, who poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school and, impressed with the talented pupils in his music class, forms a band to try to win an upcoming contest.

Annabel is joining one of three teams of children who take turns playing the rock-star pupils. She’ll also be joining fellow cast member, 13-year-old Dylan Miles-Davis, of Idle, who found out earlier this year that he’d landed a part in the show.

Annabel is now splitting her time between London and Bradford, staying in the capital in performance weeks but coming home during time off.

“We do miss her but make contact many times throughout the day and evening,” her parents say.

“She has made many new friends which is lovely and seeing her enjoying herself and doing what she loves makes it easier for us.”

Other young rock musicians have a chance to follow in Annabel’s footsteps on September 23 , at an open audition for the show in Liverpool. Visit www.schoolofrockthemusical.co.uk/opencall for details.