Life after The Garage for Bluey’s Big Play actor Sophie

The Garage

We’re looking forward to welcoming Sophie Blythe, one of our first HNC Programme in Performing Arts students, back to Norwich this year. 

She’s playing Chilli Heeler in the UK premiere of Bluey’s Big Play, coming to Norwich Theatre Royal 22-25 July.

For those of you who don’t have young children, Bluey is an Emmy award-winning Australian children’s TV show about the adventures of energetic, imaginative Blue Heeler puppy Bluey and her family. The play features an original story and new music by both the series’ creator and its composer.

Sophie says: “It’s a huge tour and we are performing all over the country in wonderful theatres to sold out audiences! The responses are incredible, and our biggest audience yet has been 3,000 people in Glasgow.”

Not bad for someone who was extremely shy growing up.

“I didn’t always want to be a performer. I found my confidence through dance classes at Norwich School of Dance. Our yearly shows and performing in local pantomimes at the ages of nine-ten sparked my interest in performing as I felt completely at home on the stage.

“At high school I studied drama and did lots of local youth theatre productions, including playing Sandy in Grease at Norwich Theatre Royal in 2018.”

Sophie, now 24, was part of our 2017-2018 HNC Programme in Performing Arts.

I signed up because I knew I definitely wanted to go to drama school, but I didn’t feel ready at that time to move from Norwich to London.

“I looked around at other ‘gap year’ and part-time drama courses in both cities but they were extremely costly. When I found The Garage course it was perfect as it was six months, in Norwich, and I was offered a scholarship that helped.

“The programme prepared me for further education. It gave me the fundamental acting skills needed at drama school. It prepared me for my auditions, and I found the speeches that worked for my casting. I was introduced to so many productions and playwrights and generally gained confidence in myself as a performer.”

Bluey's Big Play actor Sophie Blythe

After the course, and during, she did lots of performing work around Norwich including scare acting, princess parties and being an elf at Christmas time, which she highly recommends alongside studying as it gets you out into the local industry.

With support from her tutors at The Garage, Sophie auditioned for drama schools and was offered a place on the foundation course at Italia Conti. From there she studied BA (Hons) acting at Fourth Monkey and graduated last year.

Since then, Sophie’s performed in a pantomime in London and toured Italy for three months in a schools production. She’s also performed in a radio play, been involved in a new writing performance called Void at The Space Theatre in London and is now off on the nine-month UK tour of Bluey’s Big Play.

“The show is Bluey ‘for real life’ on stage. It’s a fast-paced, energetic production with something for everyone. So many laughs, amazing puppetry and all the great Bluey moments you want to see alongside a new, relatable, and emotional story.”

As Bluey would say, Sophie’s start to her career proves “sometimes the biggest adventure can take place right in front of your own house”.

You can find out more about our education programmes here. Applications are open for our October 2024 GCSE Dance and GCSE Drama courses.

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Has taking a course or class at The Garage changed your life? We’d love to hear your story. Email me.

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