Libby Connor will be one of our two beauties this Christmas at Chichester Festival Theatre

Libby Connor in rehearsal as Beauty for CFYT's SLEEPING BEAUTY_ Photo Helen Murray
Libby Connor in rehearsal as Beauty for CFYT's SLEEPING BEAUTY_ Photo Helen Murray

She will be alternating in the role with Isabel Richardson in the youth theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty (December 15-30).

“I was so taken aback when I got the role,” admits Libby. She hadn’t even auditioned for it.

“And then I got the letter. It is mailed to your house. And I just saw it written there and I was thinking ‘Have I got the right letter!’

“I never auditioned for Beauty. It was like a workshop audition. But I was so pleased to get it!”

Libby has got a clear idea how she is going to play her: “She is very wild-spirited. She is trapped inside. She is not allowed to go near spinning wheels so she is completely contained.”

And then, of course, she has a long sleep.... one that fortunately takes place off stage: “I would be worried about actually falling asleep on stage if I was sleeping on stage!

“But actually the sleep isn’t anywhere near as long as I thought it might be!”

Libby believes it is important that Beauty should also be lovable.

“I do really like the character. Sometimes it is difficult to play her because she is very similar to me in some ways. She is 16 years old, and I know I have to separate her character from my character. She is a teenager. She is very strong and she has very strong emotions, and I think I am also quite bold too in some ways.

“I am on stage quite a bit, but the principal roles are really shared out on stage. It is not all the pressure on me. There are a lot of ensemble members.

“It is very nerve-racking, though. I would be lying if I said I am not nervous, but the nerves show that I really care about it, and I think if I wasn’t nervous, things would just go downhill! I know that I have got to give it 100 per cent absolutely all the time, and that is really good.

“I would love to go into acting. It has always been about acting. I have never wanted to do anything different.

“I like going into a whole new world and the adrenaline rush of it all when you go onto the stage. And afterwards, my cheeks don’t stop hurting for ages because I have been smiling so much. It is the bows that I love the most, the fact that you know you have done it. The bows are the reward for all the blood and tears!”

Libby has sent off her application to the Brit School. She would also like to audition for the National Youth Theatre. In the meantime, she has got the little matter of GCSE’s next summer.

“But I would love to go to the Brit School. It is in Croydon. I have done a lot of research into all the different schools, and I feel like that is the best move.

“I want to do something different. I want to take that leap of faith. When I went to the open day, the atmosphere was great. Everyone really loved what they were doing.”

Playing Beauty in Sleeping Beauty is clearly potentially a massive stepping stone towards achieving that dream.

“I am really hoping that something comes out of it, but even if nothing does, then I will still know that I can take on such a huge responsibility and I know that doing something like this will always make me feel confident for the future.”

Tickets from Chichester Festival Theatre.

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