From housemates at UCW to the stage - two Weston-super-Mare students land first professional pantomime roles

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 December 2017

UCW graduates Jaz Franklin and Annabel Warrick performing in Dick Whittington.

UCW graduates Jaz Franklin and Annabel Warrick performing in Dick Whittington.


Two Weston-super-Mare students have gone from sharing a house together to sharing the stage in a hit 60-date pantomime.

Annabel Warrick and Jaz Franklin lived together for two years in Weston while studying for a musical theatre degree at University Centre Weston (UCW).

They both graduated this year and are now starring in the pantomime Dick Whittington during its 60-show run at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter.

One module on the course required students to stage their own musical in aid of Sweet Charity at Weston’s Playhouse Theatre, in High Street, which caught the attention of Tony Lidington, one of the country’s leading pantomime directors.

Annabel’s performance impressed Tony enough for him to invite her to audition for the role of Alice Fitzwarren, in her first professional performance since graduating in September, while Jaz’s versatility means she is playing a variety of different characters.

Annabel told the Mercury this week: “We are right in the middle of the run at the moment and it is going really well.

“It is quite draining doing so many shows, but it is a fresh audience every night and we get so much energy from them.”

Speaking about her friendship with Jaz, the 22-year-old added: “It has really helped having a close friend to share a dressing room with, especially given that this is both our first professional roles.

“Having a friendly face around makes things easier and it is really nice doing this with someone I went to university with and trust so much.

“Thankfully Jaz and I are used to spending quite a lot of time together.”

Annabel began her time at UCW studying for a performing arts degree and already knew Jaz from shared workshops and classes, but the two became close friends after Annabel switched to Jaz’s musical theatre degree.

The pair then went on to share a home in Weston’s Shrubbery Road during their final two years of study.

Going forward, Annabel is clear about her career aspirations, and has ambitions of making a real name for herself.

She said: “The goal is to move to London one day, as that is where most of the top roles are.

“We were told at university to be very proactive and build up contacts, which is what I aim to do over the coming years.”

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