It’s the instant reaction. As soon as friends learnt Amy Burrows was in Beauty and The Beast this Christmas, they’d ask her ‘So are you playing the Beast?’
And no, it doesn’t get tedious. “It’s quite a funny quip! But I just try to pre-empt them and get in their first.”
For the record, though, it’s Beauty she’s playing – at the Alexandra Theatre at the Regis Centre, Bognor, from Monday, December 12-Monday, January 2.
“I have done panto for years and years, and Beauty and the Beast is a show I just love.”
She’s done Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and also an earlier Beauty and the Beast stint, though this time as the Enchantress.
“I loved it, but I spent the whole time wishing I was playing Beauty, the principal girl role that I usually play. But I just loved it as a show, maybe because it is just a little bit different to the other classic panto titles.
“I love the fact that Beauty has got a bit more brain than some of the other girls in panto. She loves her books, and she has got some spirit to her.
“And I love the fact that she has got really strong morals. She sticks to her dad’s side and wants to protect him. I love her for the fact that for her family overrides everything else and that’s what takes her through the story.”
Amy, who comes from Southend, decided at an early stage that showbiz was the career path for her.
“I did lots of amateur dramatics, and I probably started at school, to be honest.
“I did every single class I could take after school, and I did speech and drama festivals. Every single night after school I would be doing something to do with the performing arts.
“No one else in my family had done anything like that, but they were really supportive. They just believed that if you find something in life that you are passionate about, you have got to go for it.
“I was taking A levels and went to see the careers advisor. I was at a grammar school and was very academic. The careers teacher said ‘You should be going to Cambridge’, but my parents were very supportive of me not going to university. Thankfully they took the view that if there is something you really want to do, you have got to try to do it, and fortunately I got a full scholarship (at Performers College, in Essex, just off the M25 motorway).
“We were not in a position to afford private training, and the full scholarship enabled me to go.”
She received a rigorous training in pretty much everything: “It was really, really intense. You could be working for up to 12 hours a day. It was pretty full on.”
She graduated three years ago and has made sure she has kept active throughout the very first years of her career: “It is in my nature to keep busy. I will do everything.’”
In fact, this is her second time in Bognor this year. She was here earlier filming a new road safety film.
And she gave it her all.
“I had to be a victim in a car, and I was paralysed. My boyfriend was killed, literally in my lap. I had no voice by the end of the week I had been so hysterical.
“I was picking everyone’s brains about just how somebody would be in that situation.”
Beauty and The Beast is at the Alexandra Theatre at the Regis Centre, Bognor, from Monday, December 12-Monday, January 2. Tickets on www.alexandratheatre.co.uk 01243 861010.
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