When Isaac Bird was six, his parents took him to see Matilda in the West End. It was while he was sitting in the audience that he realised he too wanted to perform on stage.
Six years on, Isaac has been cast in the stage adaptation of The Snowman at Peacock Theatre in Holborn.
The production, which is based on the best-selling 1978 picture book by author Raymond Briggs, and the much-loved animated version from 1982, has no dialogue, which gives Isaac the challenge of ensuring the story is told through dance and facial expressions alone.
Confident and creative
The 12-year-old remembers how he found out that he’d been chosen for the cast:
“I’d been playing football at school, and was walking back from the match. My parents were waiting for me and told me I’d got the part. I was so excited!”
Isaac attends The Hawthorns School in Bletchingley, and it is here that his talent for drama and dance has flourished. He has performed in every school production since he began there, even during the pandemic in 2020, when the children performed in front of a green screen while their families and friends watched via video link.
The Hawthorn’s Head of Drama, Abbie Lomax, says that Isaac is a talented and diligent pupil, who takes on characters with confidence and creativity:
"He particularly enjoys leading groups to devise performance pieces. Isaac was excited to be recognised with the role of Hawthorn’s drama lead, supporting me in school performances, including with lighting, stage crew and makeup."
As well as school, Isaac has also participated in dance and drama classes at Italia Conti Reigate since he was seven. Principal Janine Eaton speaks of him with great enthusiasm:
“Isaac has worked so hard in every genre and gained distinctions in his RAD Ballet and ISTD tap exams, alongside appearing in our own pantomimes. He lights up the stage with his beautiful facial expressions and wonderful technical skill.”
Adrenaline and excitement
After weeks of rehearsals to an empty auditorium, Isaac explains how thrilling it was to be able to finally perform to an audience, which included many of his friends, when the show opened in November:
“The adrenaline rushes through me when I’m on stage, particularly when I have to keep up with the fast-paced dance steps, and detailed stage directions. I’m in a bed at the beginning of my first scene, and it’s fun to lie there with my eyes closed, listening to all the voices going on around me!”
When he’s not in the theatre, Isaac has many other hobbies he enjoys, including baking, knitting, crocheting and painting, but he says that nothing has ever come close to his passion for dancing. He confirms this by mentioning his memory box, which includes a piece of paper that he has kept since his first year at school. It simply says ‘I love to dance.’
The Snowman is on at Peacock Theatre until 31 December 2022. You can find more information and buy tickets here.