MOST theatre stars grow up dreaming of spending a career on the stage, basking in the applause of adoring audiences.
But former X Factor contestant Niki Evans made her first trip to the theatre only four days before taking to the stage as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers.
“I’d never been to the theatre at all,” said the mum-of-two, who is performing in Blood Brothers at the Waterside Theatre this week.
“I went to see the show on the day I got the script, which was Tuesday, then I did my first performance on the Saturday.
“That’s the best way for me to do it as it’s best that I don’t have time to think about it!
“I can get really nervous if I have too much time to think about things.”
Niki was given the iconic role after the show’s producers were blown away by her performances on X Factor.
Before applying to be on the reality show she had been working as a catering manager at Polesworth International Language College in Tamworth.
But after her father’s death she used an X Factor application form found in his personal files and won a place in the live finals.
Niki initially turned the role in Blood Brothers down, but after seeing it she immediately fell in love with the character of Mrs Johnstone.
“I loved the show, I came out crying,” she said.
“It’s more of a play with a few songs than a musical and it’s very funny, anyone who has kids will love it.
“People love Mrs Johnstone because she’s very real – she’s a mum, she does a normal job and tries to feed her kids.”
Niki first took the role of Mrs Johnstone in the West End then took a break from the show before joining the touring cast.
She says that though she loved performing, she never really felt at home in London.
“I don’t get the West End thing, to be honest, I don’t see why everyone clamours to get there.
“You can only do it for a certain amount of time before you go mental.
“I wanted to go home and be a real mum, it’s a big role to do for long periods of time.
“I know it’s a cliche, but the touring cast is more like a big family as you’re going around the country together so you form more of a bond.”
Niki will leave the cast of Blood Brothers in December to perform as the fairy in a Snow White panto.
She then returns to the Waterside Theatre in January with hit musical Legally Blonde.
“I play Paulette, it’s a really fun show so I should be able to laugh more.
“It will be a challenge as I have to learn two scripts in three weeks, and then I don’t have a day off until next September!”
It seems Niki can identify all to well with the difficulties Mrs Johnstone faces as a working mum.
Blood Brothers is on at The Waterside Theatre until Saturday.
For tickets go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury or call the box office on 0844 871 7607.