Bognor Regis panto gives Ben a chance to show how far he’s come!

Panto will be a chance for Ben Brooker to show all the progress he’s making on his performing arts course.

He’s determined to make the most of his time in Peter Pan at Bognor’s Regis Centre this Christmas.

Bognor Regis Peter Pan pic by Wayne Humphrey

Bognor Regis Peter Pan pic by Wayne Humphrey

“I go to a performing arts school based in Maidstone town centre, a three-year course, and I am currently in my second year.

“We do a college pantomime, but this will be outside the college work, entirely in my own time. Hopefully my family will be coming down to see me.

“They have been so supportive. My mum has been there for me from day one. When people are younger and they say what they want to be, people say a fireman or an astronaut, but I always wanted to be a performer.

“I have a personality that needs to branch out. For most of my life I feel trapped. When I am performing, I break free. I feel that I can show people what I am capable of.

“When you start at performing arts school, you are told from day one that it is going to be tough, that it is a very competitive business, and there are lots of people interested in the same thing. But at the end of the day you can only be yourself and you have just got to keep trying to get better.

“Panto is a very good way to start, and there are very few people in this world that can say they are doing a job they absolutely love. I can say I really do feel privileged.

“I was mainly a straight actor when I started, but since I found out that I have got a voice, I want to branch out. I thought I wanted to go into musical theatre. My specialities would be acting and singing. Improving my dance is one of the reasons I am doing the performing arts course. I believe I can become a triple threat.

“In this industry you can only give 100 per cent, and I intend to give it 100 per cent the entire journey. It’s all about determination. You have got to be prepared to take the knocks. If you go for your audition, the chances are you will find people that are better than you.

“But you have just got to keep going; you have got to learn to be able to take constructive criticism and learn from it.”

For the panto, Ben is playing Jolly Jake the pirate. Speaking at the cast’s first get-together, Ben admitted he hadn’t yet had a chance to look at the script.

“But I am definitely going to make him jolly. I will make him jolly and happy and keep him doing the pirate things and being a pirate who does what Captain Hook tells him to do. He is going to be a very obedient pirate.”

Ben is relishing the story.

“The whole point of Peter Pen is that he doesn’t want to grow up so he can still have fun and still explore.

“But the idea of Captain Hook being around is that it shows that being an adult is not necessarily a bad thing, but that really the thing is, no matter how old you get, never to lose your sense of fun, never forget who you are,”

And something similar will be happening on the home front: “It is a bit of a trek for my family, but I want them to see my enthusiasm.

“When I come in from college, I say ‘Yes, I have had a hard day, yes, it has been a tough day,’ but every day I am there, I am learning and growing and developing.”

Peter Pan is at Bognor’s Regis Centre from December 16-January 3.

Tickets are available on 01243 861010.

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