Musical theatre actress Billie Hardy credits her Essex stage schools and performances for giving her a great grounding for her career.

Billie is currently starring in the UK tour of Chicago and her, and the rest of the cast, will razzle dazzle at the Cliffs  from Monday 21 to Saturday 26 February.

The musical star, who appears in the ensemble and is first cover for Roxie Hart, went to the San-Marie Stage School in Billericay. 
“I have such great memories of going San-Marie and Solomon Artistes in Southend, when it was running,” said Billie.
“My first ever performance was at the Palace Theatre doing a dance show. That was it for me after that show, I knew that performing was what I wanted to do. The theatres in Southend are so special to me, I have great memories of starring in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Cliffs as a kid as well.”

Billie is enjoying being part of the Chicago cast and in the midst of the UK tour.
“It is amazing to be in such an iconic show. We all love what we do and getting the great reaction from the audience, who love seeing a live show, is just incredible.
“I get to travel a lot with the tour and see parts of the UK I have never got to see before. I was in Dubai for two weeks in January and it was great fun. I had never been there before and so it was nice to experience it. It’s like another world! We had a chance to explore and relax by the pool because there was no matinee show.”

Billie loves touring with the show but there is no denying that it is a physically demanding job.
“Touring is tough on the body and you really have to take care of yourself as we are out there doing eight shows a week and lots of travelling.
“The pros definitely outweigh the cons for me. I love this job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Having grown up in Brentwood Billie then went to study at the London School of Musical Theatre. Her previous roles include Swing & DC in Bat Out of Hell, Crystal Heart in Burlesque’d Live at the Turbine Theatre and slave of the ring in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal Windsor.

The talented star has many strings to her bow.
She said: “Writing is a passion of mine and I could see myself eventually moving into writing screen plays. My job is the best but it takes its toll, I don’t think I’ll be doing it when I am 40, I don’t think my knees would  being able to take it!”