This week, we hear from more ex-Spotlighters who have been kind enough to get in touch: Aimee Pink, Amy Hamilton, Rebecca Harrington, Alex Fryer, James Bell and Polly Smith. It is lovely to hear how people are doing and how Spotlight has helped everyone, whether or not they have remained in the business.
“This is my first year in a while without Spotlight and I can honestly say that it feels like a piece of me is missing without it! I took part in six Spotlight shows , starting in 2012 with We Will Rock You, and finishing in 2017 with Legally Blonde.
Leaving Spotlight meant lots of tears and emotions, but I know I’ve made a family for life there and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities it gave me. Not only did I meet some of my best, most theatrical, friends ever, but my confidence grew so much and made me who I am today, no matter how cheesy that sounds! I went from being a bundle of nerves, walking into my first rehearsal in 2012, to having a Principal role in 2017 and having the confidence to sing alone on stage.
I am now at the University of Leeds studying Paediatric Nursing. I love my course and can’t wait to be a nurse and I will always carry on popping back to rehearsals whenever I’m home. Even though I haven’t chosen to do a theatrical degree at University, everything I learnt at Spotlight has been invaluable to me, helping me talk to new people and interacting confidently with everyone I meet.
Watching my younger sister now going on with the shows, with all my other friends, makes me so proud and happy. I’m so glad they get to make all the same memories I did. I’ll never be able to thank Sarah, Graham and the team enough!”
“I began dancing at the age of three, starting with ballet like most young girls, but then my interest spread to all styles of dance. At the age of seven, I joined a local theatre group performing musical shows once a year. Unfortunately, they closed when I was about 12. Luckily, a friend introduced me to Spotlight!
I began rehearsals in 2007 for 42nd street at the age of 12 and I was lucky enough to gain the role of Lorraine Fleming. I loved my first year with Spotlight so I continued with their shows for another four years! In my time with them, I managed to play some very exciting roles including Carmen Diaz in Fame and Killer Queen in Schools Will Rock You.
Not only did I love Spotlight for the performance aspect of things but it really is like a family. I made some amazing friends while rehearsing and the team putting the shows together are incredible.
Sarah and Graham really did so much for me in and out of rehearsals, becoming close friends and people I could really trust. They even had me helping at the costume barn where I learnt a lot and which I really loved. The costumes they own are amazing! Paul Sweeney also made a very strong impact and helped me a lot with my acting, which I shall forever be grateful for.
I left Spotlight because I moved to London to study performing arts for three years – the hardest, but most rewarding, three years of my life, learning from some of the best in the industry. I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to train at the place I did. Big thanks to my parents for funding that, which I know wasn’t easy but definitely worth it!
I graduated in 2015 and spent some time auditioning in London. I finally decided to move to Spain and started a job as an entertainer in hotels, working with clients in the day and performing at night. Last year, I was approached by a company asking me to join their show team, which rotates around four hotels based in the same area performing musical shows every night, including Mamma Mia, Dirty Dancing, Grease and even a Disney show.
I love my job and my life in Spain. What could be better than doing something you love every night as a job? Spotlight will always have a place in my heart and I thank them for the experiences I shared with everyone.”
“Like many other Spotlight members, I went to my first rehearsal in 2012 with a friend. By the end of the evening, I was a member of the Spotlight family and, as the saying goes, “the rest is history”. We Will Rock You, Some Like It Hot, Les Misérables, Singin’ In The Rain and Disco Inferno soon followed and I loved every show.
In 2016, I began a three-year Level 6 diploma course in Dance Performance with teaching qualifications at Kate Simmons Dance in Cheshire, studying ballet, pointe work, Spanish dance, contemporary, tap, modern jazz, hip-hop and singing. As well as preparing for assessments and examinations, I am rehearsing for our annual tour “Allegrodance” and show in April. Thank you to Sarah, Graham and the Spotlight team for their continued love and support.”
“I started Spotlight when I was 13 and had the great pleasure of being part of A Whitechapel Tale, Bugsy Malone, Disco Inferno and 42nd Street. I have particularly fond memories of playing Jack in Disco Inferno, alongside some of my best friends, and I especially enjoyed wearing some amazing costumes, including a great of pair silver platform shoes!
After school, I studied music at University and then a postgraduate degree in Oboe Performance at the Royal College of Music, London. I’m now freelancing in London and have a mixed portfolio career, which includes oboe playing, singing, conducting and arts administration. I also own a small music business which I’m hoping to expand in the next few years.
The performance skills I learnt at Spotlight have no doubt helped me in my career as a musician and I still enjoy working on musical theatre projects when I can, including Sweeney Todd recently with past colleagues from the Royal College of Music Students’ Union.
Spotlight was an incredibly special part of my teenage years. I didn’t really fit in at school (before moving for Sixth Form) and meeting likeminded people at Spotlight provided a real haven for me, letting me be myself and gain confidence .
I hope Sarah and Graham realise that all the work they put in to the company and productions not only pays off because they create amazing quality shows but also that they are creating a lifeline and validation for kids who sorely need it, and a place to thrive for those who don’t fit in elsewhere.
It’s fantastic to see Spotlight’s amazing work is still going from strength to strength and that so many young people are being given the opportunity to make memories as wonderful as mine!”
“I was in the cast of Bugsy Malone in 2006 and Disco Inferno in 2007. Spotlight was a really fantastic experience. Outside the odd school play, Spotlight was the first amateur theatre I ever took part in. It was great fun to get out of my comfort zone and do something completely different. The biggest things I got from my time with Spotlight were great friends, loads of laughs and the unparalleled rush you get from performing on stage.
I now work as Head of Campaigns in the Prime Minister’s Office, so I’m a long way from the theatre, but the confidence I got from performing with Spotlight has stood me in good stead throughout my career. I’ll always be thankful for the opportunities and unforgettable memories Spotlight gave me.”
“During my time in Spotlight, I was in the chorus of two shows, We Will Rock You in 2011 and Les Misérables in 2013, as well as taking part in a few other Spotlight concerts. I really enjoyed my time at Spotlight. I made really good friends and had loads of fun every week. Performing in the shows themselves was especially exciting. Being so young and having the opportunity to be part of something so professional looking was incredible!
Since leaving and after Sixth Form, I’ve had a gap year in which I was in Annie in the Cambridge Arts Theatre and an opera with Cambridge University College. I was in an a cappella group, which got to perform in Cambridge May Balls. I sang in a Cambridge choir in the Colosseum and the Vatican, and I was the lead girl in the Cambridge College’s choral play, which we performed in the Dubai Opera House and in Jordan last summer. I also sang with a small choir for a week in a church in the Southern French countryside.
I’ve now started studying Arts and Sciences with my major in Science and Engineering at UCL. I’ve joined the University of London chamber choir and am looking at a career in the RAF.
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