Becca Lee-Isaacs, from Greenhill, won the Best Early Career Newcomer award in the 2022 Pantomime Awards from the UK Pantomime Association.
The Barbara Windsor Award for Best Principal Boy was presented to Dominic Sibanda, who starred in Sleeping Beauty at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, at the same ceremony.
Becca played Fairy Bree-Anne in Robin Hood at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. The judges saw all the pantomimes in the country – more than 200 in all.
She made her professional debut in the show after graduating from drama school in 2020.
Becca said: “It was quite a shock to get that role anyway. There were eight of us in the cast and they didn’t have an ensemble.
“Because of Covid we couldn’t have that this year. Then I couldn’t finish the run because I caught Covid.”
She had already waited to launch her career because of the pandemic.
The 23-year-old said her only previous experiences of appearing in panto were performing in Sheffield with Easy Street Theatre Company and then as part of her drama GCSE.
You could argue that her first panto performance took place at the Lyceum, though – as a four-year-old called up on stage from the audience.
“As a family we’ve got a tradition on Christmas Eve to go to the panto at the Lyceum and get a Chinese,” said Becca.
“I won a big sports bag full of Haribos! I sang a nursery rhyme of some sort,” she recalled. “They did pretend to have forgotten me – I was just stood there, waiting for my turn.”
She took the opportunity of saying hello to Lyceum Dame Damian Williams at the event.
“My dad always says ‘he’s the best Dame I’ve ever seen’ so I thought I would tell him. He was absolutely lovely,” she said.
‘There’s nothing I love more than singing’
Her award was presented by another panto legend, Christopher Biggins, who Becca said was “amazing”.
She started to wander off in a daze after making her acceptance speech, as she hadn’t expected to win, so Christopher kissed her on the cheek then laughingly steered her in the right direction.
Becca, who has just moved from Greenhill to London in order to audition more easily, went to Meadowhead School before moving to High Storrs sixth form.
She studied musical theatre at the London College of Music, part of the University of West London. She said that musical theatre is her passion.
“There’s nothing I love more than singing. When I am having a hard day, I feel like having a sing-song brings me so much joy when I’m feeling a bit down, so I went towards musical theatre,” she said.
“I fell in love with that nervous energy you get when on stage. Nothing quite matches that for me.”
As well as Easy Street, Becca performed with Stagecoach Sheffield for 13 years, going on to become an early stages teacher.
She praised the principal Debbie Whyte, her mum and predecessor Sheila and all her Sheffield drama teachers for encouraging her to do the hard work to pursue her dreams, as well as her ever-supportive family.