Suffolk theatre employing diverse actors says 'be your own hero'

Becky Sanneh wearing a ball gown on stage as Cinderella

The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds has employed a diverse cast for their production of Cinderella - Credit: Tony Kelly

A Suffolk theatre has made a conscious effort to cast diverse actors as it tells its audiences "you can be your own hero".  

The team behind the Theatre Royal's production of Cinderella says making strides to increase representation on the stage is important to show adults and children alike to believe that they can be anything they want to be. 

Leading the cast at the Bury St Edmunds theatre is Becky Sanneh as Cinderella. 

The 22-year-old, from South East London, has been acting ever since she was a child and says she never believed she would play a princess in a leading role.  

She said: “As long as I could remember I just thought I’ll never be the princess. I'll probably be the sidekick or the funny friend.  

Becky in a pumpkin carriage on stage at the Theatre Royal

Becky Sanneh, 22, has been cast in the lead role of Cinderella - Credit: Tony Kelly

“It was very accepted when I was growing up that that’s who you are and that’s who you will be.

"I think it’s really important that we say for everyone that you can be from any background and still be a princess.” 

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Becky went on to say that she feels proud to be able to offer that representation to children who were just like her growing up. 

“It feels so special and it feels amazing. I think you can see it in the audiences' eyes.  

“I remember the opening night and I saw a black family sitting two rows back with a little girl who just looked so in awe.  

“There was a small part of me that worried some of the other children would think I can’t be a princess. But they are all so accepting.” 

Becky singing on stage as Cinderella

Becky says it feels special to be able to show all children that they can be princesses too - Credit: Tony Kelly

The production has begun its run with the final performances on January 16. 

Owen Calvert-Lyons artist director at the theatre said: “It was a very conscious decision and we employ that in all of our casting. We cast people of different sexualities, race, gender, class – that is something important to us. 

“We first and foremost are casting people on their ability. We are absolutely looking for people who are great actors, great singers and great dancers and that has to come first.” 

Mr Calvert-Lyons went on to say that this production will help adults and children alike believe that they can be anything they want to be. 

“Believe you can be your own hero and then you’ll approach life differently. You are a central character in this world. You're not a peripheral figure and you’re not a sidekick.” 

To book tickets for the show, see here

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