A PROMISE made ten years ago to Wells Blue School pupil Jess Michelmore by her form tutor will shortly come true.
Mr (Ian) Ramsden promised Jess that he would carry her bags on her first night of stardom, if she landed her dream role in a major musical. Recently Jess has been selected for the lead in the UK and international tour of the smash hit musical Mamma Mia!
Jess told Wells Voice: “I have been to dozens of auditions, so to land the lead role of Sophie in this wonderful musical is, well, just like the opening Abba song I sing – I Have a Dream!”
Jess, from North Grove in Wells, attended Stoberry Park School and The Blue School before going to the prestigious Mountview Academy in London where she studied for a BA honours degree in Musical Theatre.
Local dance and music teachers have nurtured Jess’ acting talent over the years in Somerset, where she has starred in local productions in Wells Little Theatre as well as Strode Theatre, Street.
Her singing teacher Tracey Hansford from Darshill remembers Jess keen to start choir when she was three years old. “She wasn’t always the perfect pupil, but I quickly saw Jess was a very talented student, so I’m thrilled to see her achieve such a high-profile role. For many years she has sung in local concerts too, to gain that all-important performing experience.”
Jess was a dance pupil at the Street-based South West School of Dance for about 14 years, learning ballet, tap, modern and contemporary dance. Principal Sarah Jones said: “We are all very proud of Jess and what she has achieved. She has been an inspiration to so many of our pupils over the years and we wish her every success for the future.”
The Wells Academy of Theatrical Arts was also a training ground for her where Principal Miss Penny was thrilled with the news of her ex-student.
The Little Theatre gave Jess her first acting opportunities in the shows Sound of Music, The King and I and Beauty and the Beast. She has also performed in some notable local productions with the Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society including various pantomimes, The Witches of Eastwick and Sister Act.
Jess added: “I have been so lucky to have had so much local support as I developed my performance skills and career here in Wells so I would like to say a massive thank you to all my local teachers, friends and family who have helped me achieve my dream.”
Mamma Mia! centres on Sophie’s search for her father to lead her down the aisle as she prepares for her wedding on a Greek island.
The closest venues to see Jess in the production are The New Theatre Cardiff in February, the Kings Theatre Portsmouth in May or the Hall for Cornwall Truro in June. The tour is also taking in Scandinavia, Europe, Mumbai, Singapore and other world destinations to be announced.