A trio of South Yorkshire performers are on stage in Blackpool this summer in global hit musical Mamma Mia!.
Sally Frith, Lucy Wilkerson and Megan Louch have signed up for a summer season at Blackpool Opera House in the show, which uses the hit songs of Abba to tell the story of love and family on a Greek island.
The huge success of the 2008 film starring Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan added to the popularity of a show that’s been seen on stages around the world.
Sheffielder Sally is making her her professional debut after graduating last year from Millennium Performing Arts in London. She plays Ali, who is bride-to-be Sophie’s best friend.
Like Megan and Lucy, she has already spent seven months in the show in South Korea and Switzerland. After Blackpool, they are all off to Hong Kong.
Sally said: “I’m getting into the swing of things. I’ve never even been to Blackpool before!”
She added: “They went mad for Mamma Mia! in Korea. You’d got people screaming at you in the street.”
However, at the theatre it was a different matter. “They are extremely polite people. They wouldn’t know whether to clap or not.
“Everyone was up on their feet at the end, they just needed a bit more encouraging.”
Sally, who is from Millhouses, went to Dobcroft Primary School and then Silverdale.
“As a kid I went to Constance Grant and did a weekly class there. It was a hobby and I never took it seriously at all. I also trained in singing at an early age but I never combined the two.
“I remember seeing a show and my mum said, ‘you know you can do that as a job if you want’. It was a lightbulb moment and I thought ‘really?’
“I didn’t believe the performers were real human beings! Then I thought ‘I want to do this’.”
She comes from a musical family and her mum Chris is in Sheffield Chorale and dad John plays drums in bands.
Sally would like to stay in musical theatre for the time being and wants to appear in the West End. Her dream role would be in Les Mis.
“It’s an absolute contrast to Mamma Mia! It’s something a bit more theatre and singing based.”
She loves Mamma Mia, though. “Everyone knows Abba, although I’d never seen Mamma Mia! until I got the job.
“I think it is so unique, it isn’t like other jukebox musicals as the songs and story all gell together so well. It appeals to everyone.”
Megan, who comes from Rotherham, is in the ensemble of the show.
She said: “I’ve always loved musicals. Dance is my strongest point and I’d love to work for a jazz dance company and try a bit of Irish dance as well but musical theatre is where my heart is.”
“Mamma Mia! is great for me because I get to do dancing, acting and singing. It’s been a great experience to learn from.”
Like Sally, she was fascinated by the Korean audiences: “As a country they are so advanced in technology but the people seem a bit behind the times.”
She said it was a bit overwhelming being one of the few Europeans in the country because of all the attention they got.
The Blackpool season has been very different, Megan said.
“On Saturday nights we get a lot of hen parties in Blackpool with people singing along to all the songs and having a great time.”
There have also been lots of familiar faces in the audience as family and friends have been eager to see her.
“My mum came with her friends one weekend and said to them, do you want your picture taken with Megan? She got a bit carried away!”
Her ambition to be on stage started much earlier than Sally. She said: “I was dancing when I was five and I went to Gillian Banks Theatre School. I used to perform with all the local operatic societies. I’ve been in about five of those.
“When I was training I was dance based for most of the time. I only started singing and acting later. As I got older I started to watch shows and realised you have to do everything.”
At 18 she got a place at Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey but also took her A-levels at Wickersley School.
After graduating two years ago she worked in Loserville in the West End. “That was amazing, it was my first job out of college and I left early to do it. I was so lucky.
“Because it was a brand new musical we were involved in the creative process and it was great seeing it come together.”
Mamma Mia! is at Blackpool Opera House in the Winter Gardens until September 14. Tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/