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Actress overcomes odds to continue stage career

The JCoSS pupil’s condition led to her developing scoliosis, which causes curvature of the spine and can stunt growth

    (Photo: Alesha Bhakoo)
    (Photo: Alesha Bhakoo)

    A teenager who travelled to the United States for life-changing surgery has landed a role in a play by award-winning Jewish playwright and author Diane Samuels.

    Lucy-Mae Beacock, 15, who previously starred as Matilda in a hit RSC production, was terrified she would be unable to perform on stage after being born with the degenerative spinal condition spina bifida.

    The JCoSS pupil’s condition led to her developing scoliosis, which causes curvature of the spine and can stunt growth.

    Last April, Lucy-Mae had life changing surgery involving the fusion of metal rods to her spine. It could have meant an end to her blossoming acting career.

    But nine months after surgery she is treading the boards again.

    She is currently playing a young Ms Samuels in This is Me, at the Chickenshed theatre in Cockfosters, North London. The show consists of selected fragments of Ms Samuels’s unpublished autobiography.

    As part of the role the teenager acts out memories from Ms Samuels’s life, from her first day at primary school to going to university.

    The teenager has spent her half-term holidays rehearsing, and juggles homework with gaps in her after-school dance classes.

    Lucy-Mae said: “I perform several monologues that are her memories, but every night I have to ask the audience to decide the order that the pieces are performed.

    “They hold up scraps of cloth with different topics written on them and each piece relates to a different memory, so it keeps me on my toes.”

    The teenager said she had been terrified that the pioneering surgery she received in the US might cut short her stage career.

    “I didn’t expect to be back on the stage so quickly. It is amazing. I have always wanted to be on the stage.

    “It is just what I love to do. I’ve been going to Chickenshed for a while so I was thrilled when I got the part.”

    The show runs every night until March 3.

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