So pleased to get second chance with Chichester's Pinocchio

He could go into the law or he might pursue a career in acting instead.

Alex Webb and the company in rehearsal for CFYT's Pinocchio 2021 (C) Richard Gibbons
Alex Webb and the company in rehearsal for CFYT's Pinocchio 2021 (C) Richard Gibbons

That’s a decision for the future, but for the moment Alex Webb is focussing on a return to the stage with Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Pinocchio this Christmas.

Alex was in the production of Pinocchio which was cut short last year when lockdown descended on Christmas Eve. He is delighted to be able to return to it this year with so much greater chance of being able to complete the run. Last year he played the French dog Mercury; now he’s stepping up to be one of the two performers who will alternate in the role of Pinocchio.

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Alex, who lives in Bosham, is currently in the sixth form at Bishop Luffa doing English literature, theatre studies and law plus, as he says, a little bit of Latin.

“I’m not sure what I want to do, whether I want to perform or do law but theatre is something I’ve always loved and found very interesting since starting with the youth theatre. I was a very shy child and really joining the theatre has brought me out of my shell. My mum signed me up thinking that it would be really good as a way to build up my confidence and it has done. Being part of the youth theatre you are meeting different people and you are learning different skills; you are doing interesting work with improvisation and coming up with your own ideas. It really helps with confidence.

“I joined when I was in year six so that’s six years now. Doing Pinocchio last year was a massive highlight for me but there have been so many things that I have loved doing in the youth theatre. My first show was Sleeping Beauty and that was so much fun. That was a great experience and then I was part of Crossing Lines, the summer show which was so different and again very exciting. It was very complicated. I’m sure that the creative team were having to work so hard so that everyone was in the right place at the right time (it was a promenade production around Chichester). It really was quite a feat!

“Last year in Pinocchio I was the French dog which was great fun because he was an outrageous character, but it was a much smaller part. There is a lot more to learn for Pinocchio but he goes on such an amazing journey and he learns it’s OK to make mistakes and learn from them. He makes so many mistakes. He is gullible and naive and he doesn’t know he is making mistakes and annoying people. But as he becomes more aware of what other people are doing he learns that making mistakes is good and when you make mistakes that’s how you grow up as a person. And we can explore different things this year. It’s really exciting that we can do so much more, that we can hug people which we couldn’t do last year because of social distancing. But we can just do so many things on stage that we weren’t allowed to do last year. And it’s a different show. The script has changed and there are other differences too. It is really exciting to be able to look at it again and explore things differently.”

Chichester Festival Theatre from Dec 18-Jan 1.