Professional panto debut time for Holly-Mae in Shoreham
Holly-Mae is a third-year student at Guildford’s Performance Preparation Academy: “And actually this is my fourth year there. I did a foundation year before I started on the degree course so this is my fourth year in training and I have just really loved it. I think I've completely changed in confidence in terms of my abilities and how well I think I can perform and I've learned so many skills such as the etiquette regarding rehearsals and how you should be in an audition room. You learn all the things that you will need to get you the job.
“I have lived in Guildford for four years now but I'm originally from Manchester. I went to a sixth-form college in Manchester that was a really popular musical theatre sixth-form college and the drill there was everybody wanted to go to drama school in Guildford or London. But actually PPA hold auditions up at Pendleton (Sixth Form College). It turns out that quite a lot of people from there end up at PPA and I had heard really great things from other people about it.”
And Holly-Mae has not been disappointed “The thing about PPA that makes it so special is that they really encourage individuality and that's really important when you are learning about yourself and also learning about yourself as a performer. It's about creating a safe space where you can experiment and develop.”
After she graduates, Holly-Mae will most likely be staying down south, either Guilford or London: “I don't have any plans to move back home. I just want to audition for as much as I possibly can and hope to find that really important first job that will be the key to unlocking all sorts of things. It will be very, very competitive but that's another great thing about PPA: that they prepare you for that but they do also prepare you for the joy of it.”
As for panto: “When I was younger, when I was a child, I was in the child ensemble in my local panto and that sparked my love of panto. And as I got older I got more featured parts and so really when this opportunity came up for the panto in Shoreham it was something that I just found that I definitely wanted to.”
It's a great opportunity: “I just hope that it will teach me more things about what it would be like to be working as a professional. I just want the experience as a performer on the stage, doing three shows a day, what it feels like to work that hard, how to combat illness or tiredness, how to carry on, how to work through it. I do think it's going to be tough but I do think it is also going to be great fun and very exciting. That's what pantos are all about and it will be a great experience.”