Having just finished her second year at the London-based Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Lauren Hughes will take to her pre-recorded stage for the inaugural Shropshire Virtual Show on Saturday.
The 21-year-old from Wistanstow, near Church Stretton, had been perfecting her dancing, singing and acting at the performance institution down south while uploading videos online – before lockdown saw her travel back to her Shropshire home to be one of 14 local acts taking part in the show.
Having been scouted by event organisers who heard her 'powerhouse vocals' online, Lauren will be performing a 20-minute set of songs by artists including Amy Winehouse, Bon Jovi, Kings of Leon and Adele when she takes to the virtual music tent – sponsored by Marches Care.
With gigs for the show being pre-recorded and uploaded to the event website on the day, Lauren said: "It was weird trying to imagine there was an audience there.
"Filming it all on your own was really strange but it was nice to do some pop songs and genres I wouldn't usually do while studying.
"It's good to find songs the older generation can get involved with and I think there'll be something for everybody."
With the coronavirus pandemic putting an end to face-to-face classes at her academy, Lauren has adapted to find ways of continuing her passion back in her Shropshire home.
"Italia Conti has been incredible," she said. "It was tricky during lockdown, trying to do ballet classes through a laptop hasn't always been easy.
"For the course we have classes in singing, acting, ballet, jazz, tap, everything – but due to lockdown all of our lessons were put on Zoom," she added, referring to the video conferencing program.
"It's been interesting. I've been using tables and chairs as ballet barres and doing tap in the conservatory."
Lauren, who said she had been singing for as long as she can remember, has also entered one song into the Shropshire's Got Talent event, supported by The Walker Trust.
Danny Budd, from the show committee, said “Our music tent showcases some fantastic local artists, and Lauren is no exception.
"We’re delighted that visitors will get the chance to hear Lauren’s powerhouse vocals this Saturday, and we wish her the best of luck in the Shropshire’s Got Talent contest.”
A packed show schedule features 75 performances, films and workshops streamed across eight online arenas, which people can watch any time between 10am and 9pm.
While free to view and enjoy, visitors to the show are being asked to make a donation, with proceeds split between five Shropshire charities: The Cavalier Centre – home of Perry Riding for the Disabled, League of Friends to RJAH, The Movement Centre, Dog A.I.D. and Shropshire Rural Communities Charity.
To listen to Lauren and get involved in the show on Saturday, visit shropshirevirtualshow.com