Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Papamoa girl heading to the big stage

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From Papamoa to the big city - one 12-year-old girl is chasing her dream of musical theatre.

Olivia Carr-Manoit got a big - and unexpected - break when she was selected to be a dancer in Auckland Theatre Company's Billy Elliot The Musical.

Dancing ballet for eight years, tap for four and singing in choir and her school band Olivia had an impressive background when she auditioned to be in the hit musical.

The Mount Intermediate deputy head girl was chosen to be one of the ballet dancers in Billy Elliot's class along with 11 other young girls, all from Auckland.

Since receiving the email saying she had been successful in her audition it had been a "whirlwind" for Olivia and her family as they prepared to move up to Auckland for six weeks of gruelling rehearsals and two and a half months of performances.

Olivia and her mother, Kim Carr, would leave for Auckland on Sunday and rehearsals would begin on Monday.

"I'm excited but a little bit scared to leave everything - my friends and home," Olivia said.

She had been a lover of musical theatre and always looked at the young kids performing in them, wishing it might be her up on stage one day.

Auditioning for Billy Elliot was spur-of-the-moment, coming about when Olivia and her younger sister were in Auckland during the school holidays for a dance workshop.

When Olivia's mother Kim Carr found out there were auditions for the musical she thought 'why not'.

The family remained in Auckland to see what might happen and when Olivia got a call back the following week she had to show off her acting and singing chops.

"It's an amazing opportunity. She's had to give up a lot to do it, her friends, sports, teachers," Ms Carr said.

Olivia would miss the last four weeks of school this term. Next term she would be at Albany Junior High, studying by day and performing by night.

Olivia's ballet teacher Heather Mead said she was extremely proud and would miss her.

"All of her teachers, tap, music, and myself, everybody has put input in, like building blocks and we've ended up with a great result. Plus Olivia always puts in 100 per cent.

"She's very dedicated," Ms Mead said.

The show opens on October 7 at Auckland's new ASB Waterfront Theatre.

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