A teenage performing arts student realised her dream of treading the boards in London’s West End after winning a competition to take part in hit musical Billy Elliot.

Rebecca White, 18, from Oakapple Close, Sanderstead, appeared for two numbers in Friday night’s performance at the Victoria Palace theatre in front of more than 1,500 audience members.

The former Warlingham School pupil won the opportunity after entering a competition put on by the internationally award-winning show.

She answered the question posed of young Billy when he auditions for the Royal Ballet School — what does it feel like when you are dancing?

She answered: "It makes me explore my artistic side and emotions through movement. It makes me feel happy and alive. It makes me more passionate about the career I want to do."

In the lead-up to her West End debut she joined the cast for rehearsals, had costume fittings and hair and make-up appointments with the Billy Elliot production team.

Croydon Guardian:

Rebecca backstage for her costume fitting

Speaking after her performance, she said: "It really was a dream come true. I can’t believe it’s actually happened. It has just inspired me and made me more passionate about pursuing a career on the stage."

"It was just a wonderful experience. My room at home is covered in posters of the West End musical so to perform in one is just incredible."

She was congratulated on stage by the stars of the musical and given her own bow.

Rebecca, who is currently on a gap year after completing a BTEC in performing arts at Reigate College, is now planning to go on and study a diploma or degree in the field at a top performing arts school.

Croydon Guardian:

Rebecca on stage during rehearsals at the Victoria Palace theatre

As part of her prize, Rebecca’s mum, dad and brother were given tickets to the show to watch her perform on Friday, with them all stayed in the four star Grosvenor Hotel afterwards.

Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds.

Croydon Guardian:

Rebecca with Ali Rasul, who played Billy Elliot in the performance 

Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family.

For more information visit www.billyelliotthemusical.com