A Peterborough performer who cut her teeth at the city’s Key Youth Theatre will be back in the city with a show that addresses issues close to her heart.
But this time former Stanground College pupil Jessica Mescall (pictured above),who was a mainstay of the famed KYT Summer Musicals including Les Mis, Our Day Out and West Side Story, will be off-stage, as assistant producer on the tour of Dietrich: Natural Duty (Key Theatre, May 13).
The show has enjoyed international success, plus a critically acclaimed run at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival. It is set in 1942, on the battlefields of North Africa, when in a gold sequined gown, Marlene Dietrich (Peter Groom, pictured) takes to the stage to fight the war her way; with an irresistible mix of songs, sequins, sex and sympathy.
It is a spectacular mixture of theatre and cabaret which also confronts many social issues - something Jessica says she is extremely dedicated to spreading the word on; body positivity, social stereotypes and peer pressure.
The London-based theatre producer, who studied at the East 15 Acting School, says frankly: “I really struggled with identity at school. Because I was bullied I was scared to be myself and ended up emulating everything I saw around me in a desperate bid to be validated and liked.
“I hated being a girl - I hated the pressures that magazines, TV and social media put on me to look ‘perfect’, I hated the unreachable aspirations I was constantly being fed.
“Then I stepped into The Key Theatre and everything changed. It was like walking into a brick wall. I walked into my first session at the Key Youth Theatre to a room full of smiling, vibrant, diverse and confident people. I’d always stifled and toned down my eccentricities, my confidence and my quirks and then suddenly I was surrounded by amazingly different people.
“I can’t thank The Key Youth Theatre and Kindred Drama enough for allowing and encouraging freedom of expression and freedom of speech. They introduced me to positive role models, they allowed me to become a positive role model. That building taught me not to judge, to embrace who I am and to celebrate being me.
“I feel honoured to be assistant producer on such an equally liberating and daring show, and even more honoured to be bringing it to The Key Theatre.”
Tickets are available at vivacity.org