Former pupil gears up for Dancing on Ice
January 13, 2023

A former Rydal Penrhos pupil is gearing up for a much-anticipated national Dancing on Ice television performance after weeks of hard work.

The Vivienne is the alter ego of former Rydal Penrhos pupil James Lee Williams, who attended the school from 2003-08 and is embarking on another significant milestone on the national television stage this weekend.

There is an enormous sense of excitement as The Vivienne gets set for a debut performance on Dancing on Ice 2023 alongside skating/dance partner Colin Grafton. This follows weeks of hard work rehearsing and getting to grips with complex techniques ahead of the big occasion.

James was propelled to worldwide fame by becoming the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK as The Vivienne. The popular figure has also appeared on Emmerdale, The Great British Sewing Bee, and the recent Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars all-winners season.

Eleven celebrities will perform alongside professional ice skating dancers hoping to be crowned the winner of the 15th series, which begins on Sunday 15 January on ITV 1 and ITVX from 6.30pm.

A social media post from The Vivienne, read: “This is honestly a dream come true. To be the first drag artist to take part in one of the big UK reality competition shows is truly an honour.”

James credits Rydal Penrhos for providing a safe, happy environment to flourish, giving him the work ethic to thrive in later life and also praised the exceptional staff team for treating him as an individual.

“I think Rydal Penrhos gave me an amazingly safe and accepting place I wouldn’t have got in many other schools.

“I was extremely flamboyant, I remember Mr (Denis) Lavin casting me in the Sixth Form production of West Side Story, I was Year 10 at the time so this was huge for me, he saw something in me and allowed me to do it even though it wasn’t even my year group’s production. I was very flattered.

“I’d put my strong work ethic down to my time at Rydal Penrhos. If I learned anything in my time there it was to be on time. So I always like to turn up on time, be nice to people and do the best I can.

“The fabulous staff never judged me for being different, even though I didn’t know what I was going through at the time. It was all so new to me, so to have teachers who were so positive was worth more than its weight in gold.”

Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to wish The Vivienne all the luck in the world during Dancing on Ice. We are incredibly proud of your ongoing accomplishments.

Photo by Rankin Images


Anyone wishing to enquire about Rydal Penrhos School can do so by calling 01492 530155, emailing admissions@rydalpenrhos.com or registering your interest online.

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