Theatre star Alice Stokoe is putting her feet up at her South Tyneside home after making her West End debut.
The 23-year-old, from Jarrow, has spent the last year starring as Sophie in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre, in London.
She said: “It’s been very surreal, but an amazing opportunity and so much fun.
“It’s such a lovely show and a gorgeous building to work in, and everyone who does the show says that.
“It’s just like a family really and it was a pleasure to go there every night to work with everyone. It’s a real privilege to enjoy your job so much.”
Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical made up of the songs of Abba. It tells the story of Sophie, who is about to tie the knot.
After reading her mum’s diary and realising she has three potential fathers, she invites them all to the Greek island where her wedding is taking place.
Alice added: “Obviously it was hard work, but when I got the job, I didn’t let it sink in how much of a huge deal it was because I didn’t want to panic.
“I just told myself that it was any other show, and that worked until about nine months in when the nerves hit me and it was like starting all over again, even though I’d probably done it 300 times by then.”
Alice studied at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
Getting this part was amazing and it really made me start to believe in myself again.Alice Stokoe
She said: “I had two years between graduating and getting this part and it was a hard two years, I did bits and bobs, but everyone’s confidence gets knocked when they get rejected from things.
“Getting this part was amazing and it really made me start to believe in myself again. Getting a one-year contract is a big thing for an actor, because it means stability.
“I loved the film version of Mamma Mia! and my grandad, Alan Wear, used to always play his Abba Gold CD when I was little.
“I would always dance around the room with my cousins listening to it and being in the show brought back those feelings, my cousins said it did for them when they came to see it as well.”
Alice, who has previously starred in the Customs House pantomime, added: “For now, I’m just enjoying having some time off and relaxing and I’ve got a few things coming up.
“The next thing I’m doing is An Evening with Sir Tim Rice and Friends at The Sage Gateshead. He’ll be telling stories of his life and there are lots of people from the West End who’ll be performing his songs.
“Having the lead role in Mamma Mia! on my CV is fantastic and I’m hoping it will open some doors for me.
“I’d definitely do the Customs House pantomime again. I loved being a part of it and getting to be home for Christmas. I learned a lot from it and I’d definitely do it again.”
An Evening with Sir Tim Rice and Friends is on October 8.
Tickets cost from £31.50. To book, go to www.sagegateshead.com or call 0191 443 4661.