NEILSTON rising drama star Kevin Guthrie became an actor to overcome his boyhood shyness.

That's the surprising admission from the 23-year-old hero of last year's National Theatre of Scotland production of Peter Pan, in the week he received his BA Degree in acting from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), pictured.

Others receiving honours on the same day included major all-round entertainment star John Barrowman - whose nephew Gregg has acted alongside Kevin.

The Degree ceremony marked the official launch of what's already shaping up to be a brilliant career on the stage for St Luke's, Barrhead former pupil Kevin, who followed up Peter Pan with a part in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production Dunsinane.

He's also been in two TV shows and has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.

And in his latest career boost he's signed up for a role in a new production of tough drama Men Should Weep beginning next month.

While heaping praise on his drama tutors Kevin, whose family home is in Neilston's Kingston Road, told Barrhead News he'd really ceased feeling like a student long before the end of the RSAMD course.

He was able to keep to the study schedule thanks to "on the road" tuition from Academy experts.

"I was away for six months for Peter Pan, and was a working actor in every way - it is fantastic that incredible productions from National Theatre of Scotland provide that sort of opportunity," he added.

But he's certain the drama tuition he received at his old school, St Luke's high, made a critical difference to his chances from the start.

"St Luke's drama tuition is a brilliant example of how to recognise the importance of the arts," said Kevin.

"Other areas often aren't as committed, and that's a shame because what you learn can stand you in good sense in future life in many different fields." Stints with Paisley-based PACE youth theatre also set him on the road to success - and conquered his shyness.

But he says the biggest influence of all has been parents Gordon, a self-employed electrician; and Louise, who's a nurse.

"They instilled in me a drive to get on in whatever it was I'd chosen to do," said Kevin, "and from an early age I knew I was either going to be an actor or a footballer." He says older sisters Lynsey, a social worker, and Lauren, a vet, are just as committed to their own careers.

And on the acting front he says he's thrilled that he's come out of the same school of dramatic excellence as stars like David Tennant and Alan Cummings.

Meanwhile how did he get on at with multi-talented entertainer John Barrowman, who became an honorary Doctor of Drama at the same event?

"Really well, because he's a great guy," said Kevin. Like so many very well-known stars you get the professional image they project on the stage and the real person face to face - and he couldn't be nicer or easier to talk to." Kevin plays "Alec" in NTS's Men Should Weep, a searing indictment of poverty, which launches at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre on September 16.