Meet the Amateur Who Landed a Part in West Side Story

Luke Britton beat hundreds of hopefuls to land a role in Dubai’s latest theatre production West Side Story. Here he shares his story with Ahlan! Live
Wednesday , 13 July 2011
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton
Luke Britton

Luke Britton has harboured a passion for amateur dramatics from an early age, but his day job is in sales. He moved to Dubai in January of this year and when he saw that DUCTAC were holding auditions for their latest production, West Side Story, he thought he would try his luck.

The 22-year-old from Harrogate in the UK was put through his paces in a grueling X Factor-style audition in which he had to sing and dance in front of a panel of judges and his peers, but his efforts paid off. Luke was ecstatic when he received the email informing him he had landed one of the lead roles in West Side Story and next week the UAE will get to see its newest star on stage.

Before the big night, Ahlan! Live caught up with Luke to get the lowdown on his rise to fame so far…

You auditioned among hundreds of hopeful local amateurs to be in West Side Story, and not only did you get a part, you landed one of the main roles – how did you dazzle the judges so much?
I would like to think I got the part based on my voice and acting ability, but I will never know how far the cheeky wink at the female judge got me! [Laughs] I think it also helps just trying to be yourself and show you’re relaxed while under pressure.

Was it like being on X Factor?
Yeah, it was a bit like that, but unfortunately Cheryl Cole didn’t make an appearance! The auditions took place on the stage at the DUCTAC theatre. As we entered we were all given a number and had our pictures taken for the judges’ benefit. Everyone auditioning in the same age group then had to line up on stage, like a scene from the film A Chorus Line! Ha! When my number was called, I had to step forward, introduce myself and sing acapella. I chose to sing a ballad called Why God from Miss Saigon. Following everyone’s performances, we wentto the dance studio and had to learn a simple routine to perform in front of the judges.

Was there a Simon Cowell figure on the panel scowling the whole time?
Actually, they were all friendly and supportive on the day…  but if I had to say, the most likely to be the Simon Cowell figure would be Joe, the director. He doesn’t wear his trousers quite as high up though.

Were all the other hopefuls watching you perform?
Yeah, we all had to watch each other perform and sweat nervously until it was our turn. It was a lot more nerve-racking for me personally, as I’d never auditioned in front of other people before.

When did you find out you’d been picked?
At the end of the auditions the judges called out the numbers of people who were successful that they wanted back the following day to audition for a character role. Then I was left in suspense for a few days until I received an email congratulating me, offering me the part of Action. I think my first words were “HAPPY DAYS!” and “GET IN!”.

‘Action’ is a gang member described in the script as a ‘cat-like ball of fury’. What exactly can we expect from your performance?
Lots of action! Excuse the pun! Fight scenes, endless energy and true loyalty to the greatest gang – the Jets. No one wants to get in Action’s way! You can also look forward to a bit of a comedy number with Action’s cheeky attitude in full swing!

You only moved to Dubai in January this year and you’re already almost a local celeb – will you ham it up and demand guest lists everywhere?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t call myself a local celebrity just yet, but any VIP or guest list offers are more than welcome!

INFO: Tickets cost Dhs135 for balcony seats, Dhs165 in the stalls and Dhs1,000 for a VIP box seat for four; 7.30pm, 19 to 21 July; 2.30pm and 7.30pm, 22 and 23 July. DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, 04 341 4777, www.timeouttickets.com.

Styling by Shannon Wylie

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