A CHILDHOOD star is hot on the heels of her next West End role.
Brooke Havana Bailey, 19, starred as Debbie in hit musical Billy Elliot when it first opened in London in 2004.
She was the first actress to play the role on stage, one she performed for two years from the age of nine to 11, even appearing on the soundtrack.
It sparked a love of the stage that continues to this day.
After returning home to Cleadon, she chased her dreams and has just secured a place at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
The former Monkwearmouth School pupil said: “I loved being part of the West End cast of Billy Elliot. I would live down there and come home every three weeks for five days. All my lessons were with a tutor, which was great, because it was one-on-one.
“It definitely gave me the bug to do musical theatre. I was lucky in that I knew what I wanted to do with my life from a very young age.”
She added: “I’ll be doing a year’s course at Italia Conti, specialising in singing. It was a really rigorous audition process, but I was over the moon to get a place. I’m hoping it will be a stepping stone for me to work in the West End again.”
Before she moves to the capital in September, she’ll be appearing on stage closer to home in a local production of A Chorus Line.
The show is based on auditions for a new Broadway musical and features tracks One (Singular Sensation), What I Did For Love and At The Ballet.
Brooke, who will play the role of Val, said: “I saw that auditions were taking place in Newcastle and I knew that I had to go for it. Val is a part I have always wanted to play. I love the show and I love the soundtrack. I was so chuffed when I got the part.”
l A Chorus Line is at Tyne Theatre, Newcastle. from May 27 -30. Tickets, priced from £12, are available from Tel. 0844 2491 000 or visit www.tynetheatreandoperahouse.uk.