My First Show Stories: Bella
Taking someone to their first ever show can create an incredible memory and is a wonderful gift to give. To share some early memories of their first shows, we asked our TodayTix Squad of Social Ambassadors to tell us about theirs. Perry talked about the time he saw Mary Poppins, and now here’s Bella’s story.
On the 25th February 2005, I finally turned 12 and was able to audition for my local youth theatre. I’d been counting down the days for months; so desperate to join after watching various youth theatre productions growing up. A few weeks after successfully auditioning and nervously playing games, improvisations, and workshops with these talented, confident teens every Wednesday, we were told that the show that year would be Les Misérables (School Edition). I remember the gasps of excitement and cheers from the older members but I had never heard of it; I was unaware of the enormity and success of the show. So, a few weeks later as we hopped onto a coach to London to watch Les Misérables in the West End I had no idea it would change how I felt about theatre forever.
This was my first trip to London, and I remember initially being in awe of the amount of people, the size of the theatre and most of all: was that Jon from S Club 7 in the programme? Did that mean he was going to be on the stage? In the show? I couldn’t contain my excitement. However, by the end the star struck 12 year old was gone. I remember the shivers and shocked feeling in my chest. I was overwhelmed. Éponine was the most beautiful person I had ever seen or heard. The music, the acting, the story. I had never seen something so wonderful in my life. I remember waiting at the stage door, dumbfounded that the people coming out the door had just created the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
Returning back to my little town that night I remember feeling so exhausted and yet so inspired. That day impacted my life forever. I went on to audition for my school production, playing Nancy in Oliver at only 13. And from then was in every play and musical I could be until I left for London at 19.
I wonder how many children feel the same after seeing their first show?
Last Christmas, December 2015, I was in the pantomime Cinderella with my college, the MTA. We did a 10 day run at the Bernie Grants Centre in Tottenham. The college had invited every school in the area, offering tickets for what the school was able to pay, whether that was £0 or £5, every child was able to come. Every audience was packed full of kids, many of whom have never or maybe would never have seen a show in their life. We did a meet and greet after every performance and it was remarkable how excited, happy and involved every child had been in the show. Knowing we had potentially impacted that child’s life, given them an opportunity to see theatre, an experience they may never have had, was incredible.
I cannot wait to return home for my youth theatre reunion in September this year and thank the producers, directors and friends I made there. Their passion to help us youngsters develop our theatrical skills and their love for theatre changed my life and I will forever be grateful for that.
Theatre is one-of-a-kind. It’s therapy, it’s happiness, it’s escape, it’s extraordinary.