WEST End actress Devon-Elise Johnson learned to lip read so she could see what they were saying about her in auditions.

Fortunately for the young actress when it came to casting the musical Billy Elliott they obviously said good things, as she was snapped up and enjoyed her first big break in London’s West End playing Susan Parkes. And this year she is taking the title role of Snow White at the Theatre Royal in Bath.

Devon-Elise was a shy child and her confidence was really low, so it was her mum who entered her for the audition.

“It was mum that got me to go for Billy Elliot and I got it. I remember doing cartwheels round by nan’s room,’’ said Devon-Elise. “I had days off school and I was being paid at 13-years-old, and going out in front of 1,500 people each night in the West End. I was very lucky.’’

Not surprisingly Billy Elliot is still her favourite musical, but this Christmas Devon-Elise is swapping her dance shoes for a shiny red apple, alongside Harriet Thorpe, Jon Monie and Nick Wilton. She said that in rehearsals they were having a lot of fun and a real laugh particularly with the dwarfs.

“The dwarfs are hysterical,’’ she said. “You can tell they are mischievous even in real life. My character is more classy and what girl doesn’t want to be a princess, but I am making her a little bit ballsy. She isn’t funny like some of the characters, but I do have a couple of innuendos.’’

The panto is in traditional style with lots of audience participation and traditional songs.

“We have all the classic Snow White songs, it is beautiful, the classy end of the scale and the Theatre Royal is so beautiful, all twinkly,’’ said the actress.

Another outing on the London stage in the musical Half A Sixpence scooped her a nomination for Best Actress in the WhatsOnStage awards for the part of Ann Pornick.

“It was incredible,’’ she said. “And I loved working with Cameron Mackintosh, he was so passionate, he nurtured us. A lot changed all the time, but the final result was perfect.’’

The period costumes don’t worry Devon-Elise, in fact she revels in them and says she wants to do Downton Abbey or something similar on TV.

“I do love the costumes, although a day in corsets is tough, but I’d also love to do a horror film, something ghostly or Zombies,’’ she said ghoulishly.

She trained at the London School of Musical Theatre, again thanks to her mum, who always encouraged her.

“We used to sing duets as we travelled around in the car. I had very supportive parents who saw something in me,’’ said Devon Elise. “They believed in me.’’

Tickets to see Devon-Elise as Snow White at the Theatre Royal in Bath from today, Thursday, December 7 to January 7 2018, are available from 01225 448844 or visit theatreroyal.org.uk.

— Flicky Harrison