Beccles dancer lands dream role in UK tour of musical
A Beccles girl who has been dancing since the age of two has landed her first professional role touring the country in an Irish musical.
Lizzie Stanley, 22, graduated with a degree in theatre dance from London Studio Centre last summer, and after a few months of gruelling auditions she landed a part in Ireland’s Call - a musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed show Essence of Ireland.
Miss Stanley’s passion for dancing started at a young age when she joined the Dance Factory in Beccles, run by Sarah Wicks, taking classes in tap, modern and disco, as well as ballet with Liz Lee at The Dance Studio in Bungay. And at the age of 11 she took up Irish dancing with the Fenelon Academy of Irish Dance in Norwich and Ipswich.
She said: “I have always had a passion for dancing and performing and I knew from a young age that I wanted to pursue it was a career.”
After finishing her A levels at Langley School, Miss Stanley left Beccles to pursue her dreams in London and spent a year studying musical theatre at Bird College, before starting her degree at London Studio Centre.
During her three-year course she performed at theatres around London including Saddler’s Wells, Pleasance Theatre and New Wimbledon.
She said: “I graduated in July last year, but I started auditioning around May while I was finishing off my course.
“When I saw the audition advert for Ireland’s Call I thought that’s what I want to do. It is the job of my dreams.
“It was open calls so there were about 150 people there. We learnt the first routine and then there was a cut, then we learnt a second and there was a cut again. It got down to about 17 girls and they started filming us and then I did a singing audition too.
“Because of my training I was prepared for what the audition was going to consist of but there is still a bit of nervous energy.
“I got a call in December two weeks later offering me a part in the ensemble.
“I was ecstatic. It’s my first professional job so I cried and rang my mum straight away.”
Rehearsals for the show started in mid February and Miss Stanley’s role involves performing in all of the dance numbers - which include Irish dancing, jazz and rock and roll - as well as singing and acting.
The opening night of the tour was held at the Pavilion Theatre in Weymouth on March 2.
She said: “It went really well and I loved it.
“The crowd were really welcoming and they were all cheering and singing along with the songs. There was such a buzz.”
And having completed the first week of the tour, Miss Stanley is looking forward to returning to Norfolk to perform at the Norwich Theatre Royal on March 27.
“I’m really excited to perform for my family and friends and my dance teachers Sarah and Liz will both be there,” she said. “I just want to show them how much I appreciate all the help and support they have given me over the years.”
Miss Stanley will continue travelling around the country on a tour bus with the rest of the cast until the show comes to a close in Eastbourne on May 5.
She said: “I’m really lucky that I am getting to travel around and experience all these different places.
“And the rest of the cast are lovely. We are a really tight group.
“Towards the end of the tour I will have to start auditioning again and hopefully I can get another role quickly.
“For now I would like to continue performing on stage but in the future I would like to go into television acting.”