Leah will get to go to the ball this Christmas

19-year-old Leah Lloyd will definitely be going to the ball this Christmas.

She’s playing Cinderella in panto at Portsmouth’s Groundlings Theatre at 42 Kent Street, Portsea from December 10-January 4.

Leah was the Genie of the Ring in Groundlings’ production of Aladdin last Christmas; this year she steps up to the title role – and she’s promising to make it her own.

“I wouldn’t like to have her completely Disneyfied,” Leah says. “I want to have some other elements. I want to try to make her a real person, not your artificial fairy-tale Princess. I also want to have some fun. The character can be very generic in some productions, but I want to do a bit more with her. With this company you are allowed to have a lot of creative input and a lot of freedom to develop your character. The director Richard is very good at the one-to-one, and you can make suggestions. We also put a lot of rehearsal time in.”

Leah has been with the company nearly two years. She is also the choreographer for the panto, just as she was for last year’s panto. I have got lots of ideas for the young dancers. There is lots of brilliant music in the show so we have got lots of opportunities. There are so many different styles we can include. We have got some ballet; we can have some tap. We have got street and hip hop and commercial dance as well as modern dance. It just depends on what type of song you are doing the dancing to. If it is a pop one, then you would be doing the more commercial dance; if it is a ballad, then you might want to include some ballet.

“I got into it all when I was very little. They brought me on stage when I was three. It was at a holiday camp in Devon. I have always wanted to be on stage ever since. I left college last year. I still hope to continue my training. I would love to go to drama school in London either next year or the year after. I have to send off my applications and try to get some auditions. I would really love to go to RADA or LAMDA. I just love doing this. It is my favourite thing in the world.”

Jack Tutt steps into the Buttons role – all a step towards turning professional for 22-year-old Jack who has just graduated from ALRA North, the Wigan base of the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts.

“For Buttons you have got to have a really strong sense of humour. And I think you have got to be universal in your art and humour, to try to get everyone involved, bring everyone together, make everyone laugh at the same time.”