TEENAGER Jaymee Hayes is enjoying the sound of success in her theatre career.
The 19-year-old Wearsider originally nurtured a passion for the performing arts.
But she discovered a flair for backstage skills while at college in London, and has just landed her first job, working on a West End production of Mamma Mia.
A keen member of the Kathleen Davis Stage School in Sunderland from the age of 11, Jaymee studied performing arts at Newcastle College, before winning a scholarship to London’s prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
It was there the former Venerable Bede pupil discovered her talent for production, and decided to pursue a new career path.
But she almost had to miss out on a place at the college in Wood Green, as her family were unable to afford the £20,000 fees for the two-year course.
Luckily, she was offered the chance to apply for a scholarship covering some of the costs, which still allowed her to apply for a student loan.
Proud mum Debbie said: “They told her she had to write something from the heart, and said there was not much opportunity up here, and she just wanted the opportunity. A few days later she was offered the scholarship.
“She started helping out with the technical side of things, and decided that was the route she wanted to go down.
“It’s something she had never thought about.
“She has been down there for two years doing sound and lighting in a very male-dominated work place.”
Jaymee had almost finished her course when she spotted a vacancy for a junior sound engineer on the Cameron Mackintosh production.
Mum-of-three Debbie, who lives in Seaham and teaches at English Martyrs School in Hartlepool, added: “She has had a struggle, but I’m so pleased that she has been able to go down to London on her own and do so well.”
Jaymee, who has two young brothers, Charlie, 13, and Jake, 10, had to seek special permission from college bosses to start the one-year contract before her course finishes this month.