The Colchester Operatic Society has another smash hit on their hands with their latest show, which starts its run at the Mercury tonight. Tickets for Hairspray, which is at the Colchester theatre until February 3, are available on-line at or from the box office on 01206 573948. We caught up with young actor and performer Sophie Holland who has already impressed with the likes of Mad Hatter. This time around she’s playing Amber Von Tussle.

What or who got you interested theatre? Did you take part in any productions at school?

The first ever musical I ever watched was thanks to my nanny Carole - she had a video tape of the musical Annie. The first time I watched it I fell in love! It was repeated every day for about four years after that. I wasn’t introduced to any productions till my Year 5 Christmas play. My teacher at the time told me I should audition for the drama club, and the next day I was playing Mary in the nativity.

Are or were any members of your immediate family involved in the theatre?

I was the first one in my family to be involved, but now my sisters are interested and doing various things within the theatre.

Who is the most inspiring person you’ve worked with and why?

Over the last couple of year I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing directors and cast members, and every single one has taught me something different and helped me to become the performer I am, so to me everyone is inspiring.

What formal training have you done?

I’ve only studied Musicals Theatre for the last three years at the University Centre Colchester, which I highly recommend to anyone who’s looking to study, although I am hoping to carry this on at drama school in the future.

Do you have any specialist skills – anything from stilt walking to dress-making – which you work into your repertoire?

Well.. I can beatbox and that’s about the only cool thing I can do that I’ve put on my Actors CV and nobody has asked for a demonstration yet (luckily).

Which experience/role do you regard as the highlight of your career to date?

Amber definately! She has so much sass and attitude, she gets whatever she wants with a click of her finger. She’s so much fun to play.

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?

We were doing a show at college which I think it was called “zigger zagger”. This was first show I had been in, and everything was going well and it got to a really dramatic scene and one of the girls speaking accidentally let a little fart slide out - but it wasn’t little and everyone heard it. Trying not to laugh was the hardest thing in my life.

Which actor (s) performer (s) do you most admire and why?

I don’t think I could pick just one! There are so many people I admire for different reasons and they have all contributed to what I’m learning and how I perform.

What role would you most like to play and why?

Heather (Veronica) from the musical Heathers. She’s a character just like Amber in Hairspray, which I would also love to perform.

Ever corpsed on stage? What happened?

I’m always getting the giggles in rehearsals, so hopefully I will be able to control it before we get on stage! Working with my friends is always a laugh, although in one case I think I’m the one everyone is laughing at. There is a scene where I have to throw the ball at Tracy but I have no aim and it just ends up bouncing back to me and hits me straight on the throat! I’m scared it’s going happen on stage and I always laugh when it gets to that bit.

Any big plans for the future?

I’m working towards going to drama school once I’ve finished my course, and ultimately I would love to own my own theatre company where I could teach musical theatre.

Any tricks for remembering your lines or other useful tips to pass on to other actors/directors?

I always like to write my lines down and just keep rewriting them over and over until they’ve sunk in. Most of the time it works but there are always the odd few lines.