A Wigan actress and singer has landed a prized West End role.
For Ibinabo Jack is to star in the hit show Dreamgirls - a fictional musical taking strong inspiration from the history of the Motown record label and The Supremes in particular.
And the former Orrell St Peter’s and Winstanley College student plays Lorrell Robinson, one of the three singing stars in the show which is to enjoy a run at London’s Savoy Theatre.
It has been a special couple of years for Ibinabo who had previously worked at Disneyland Paris and come close with other major roles.
The Billinge 34-year-old said: “I auditioned for Dreamgirls in June 2015 when I was living back at home in Wigan and working three part-time jobs. The auditions went really well, but I didn’t hear anything back, so I carried on working and auditioning for other projects.
“Then on November 26, 2015, I got two phone calls from my agent. The first was an offer from The Bodyguard UK Tour and six minutes later I was offered the role of Lorrell Robinson in Dreamgirls! That day my life changed forever.
I’ve worked hard all of my life and it’s so humbling to finally realise my dreams.Ibinabo Jack
“This role and this show really are dreams come true. The music, the story and the characters are so much a part of my existence.
“It is an absolute honour to play this part, in this show, at this time.
“I’ve worked hard all of my life and it’s so humbling to finally realise my dreams. The cast and company are incredible and as the only British Dreamgirl. I’m the luckiest Wiganer in the world!”
Ibinabo began to consider a career in the performing arts seriously while at Winstanley College.
Afterwards she applied to drama schools and started auditioning for West End musicals; and despite not having an agent or any drama school training, managed to reach the final stages for the role of Joanne in Rent and Nala in The Lion King, but didn’t secure a part. She eventually made her professional acting debut in 2004, in production called The Legend of the Lion King in Disneyland, Paris.
Meanwhile, Ibinabo had applied for a scholarship to do a degree at the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. By cruel coincidence, she received a scholarship offer the same day that she signed her contract at Disney. She deferred her place for a year, forfeiting the bursary.
Ibinabo said: “I was at Disneyland for 22 months and on the advice of the lady who had cast me in The Legend of the Lion King, I re-auditioned for Mountview.
“I had never done a singing, acting or dancing lesson, but I was offered a place with a full scholarship for the second time! I had three amazing years at Mountview.
“I worked really hard (juggling three part-time jobs, including one as college cleaner on Sundays) and I ended up getting a first class degree and a record 52 agent offers!”