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West End star Aimee returning to her roots with Grand Theatre role

By Marion Brennan | Wolverhampton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

She was eight years old and playing Martha Cratchit in Scrooge starring Tommy Steele at the Grand Theatre when she realised that showbusiness was the life for her.

Aimee Fisher from Wolverhampton

"I had one line, and it was 'The stuffing's ready mother'. I'll never forget it – it was in that moment I knew."

Aimee Fisher, now 24, went on to achieve her dream of West End stardom remarkably quickly. Two years ago she took to the London stage as Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked when the lead actress was ill.

As understudy she stepped in to play Elphaba and the part of Nessarose many times during her two years with the show, a run which itself followed a successful 12 months in Les Miserables.

She is currently back home in Codsall, taking her first career break since leaving college, and taking the opportunity to raise funds for the South Staffordshire Musical Theatre Company while she's here.

Tomorrow she will be back at the Grand appearing in One Night Only, a concert compilation of show tunes, drama, dance and comedy, with proceeds going to SSMTC.

Aimee Fisher as Elphaba in Wicked

The company recently revealed it is having to scale down productions because of the escalating costs of amateur theatre. Aimee insists that without her experience on the local amdram circuit she may not have made it.

Her training at Wolverhampton Youth Music Theatre and Impulse Productions, which drew students from Cannock, Telford and Wolverhampton, was "massively important" in her development from a starstruck eight-year-old to a professional actress, she says.

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"You don't get many opportunities to see how a show is run, how all the technical stuff comes together, with the costume, the lights. If I hadn't had that when I was younger, I would have really struggled.

"I probably wouldn't have got where I am without it," she said.

"It's why we love what we do, that feeling of being part of a whole team, its so important. Without that background, you'd feel very lost professionally.

Aimee Fisher

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"When you're performing on the West End stage, it's not about you as a performer, it's you as part of an ensemble – and amdram really gives you those skills."

Her first taste of the professional stage came with Tettenhall College one of the schools which supplied the Grand with children for chorus ensembles, she she attended from the age of four.

Looking back to her Eureka moment in Scrooge in 2004, she says: "It wasn't even being on stage for me, it was backstage.

"I always say, and it sounds really geeky, that a theatre has a certain smell, and it was that for me. From that moment on, I didn't stop till I auditioned [for stage school] at 16."

Aimee Fisher from Wolverhampton

She travelled to London for the interview at the Arts Educational School, having never been on a bus or a train on her own before, making the audition only thanks to a chance meeting with Jonathan Dudley, a friend from her amdram days back home, when she got lost on the London Underground. "It was fate," she laughs.

She won a scholarship, graduating three years later with a first-class degree in musical theatre before walking straight into an ensemble role in Les Mis, whilst understudying for lead role of Fantine and getting to play the part for real.

"I was so lucky to have that opportunity so early – you couldn't write it. I got to 'dream the dream' on stage, I was just turned 21 at the time. It was a 'pinch me' moment."

Aimee Fisher as Elphaba in Wicked

Wicked turned out to be a mini Wolverhampton reunion as she appeared alongside Jonathan Dudley and Sam Robinson from her amdram days. She describes the West Midlands as a "massive hotspot" for amateur theatre.

This week she has also been helping Wolverhampton Youth Music Theatre with their 20th anniversary production of Rock of Ages at the Arena Theatre.

She says: "It's lovely to come home and give back to the people and the companies that helped me get there. They are such a massive part of my journey.

"It's also about your roots. Here I am at the Grand where I used to perform as a youngster, it's so fulfilling. It's a reminder that after all that hard work I did get there."

Aimee Fisher from Wolverhampton
  • One Night Only is at the Wolverhampton Grand tomorrow, starting 7.30pm.
Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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