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Hi-de-hi! Camping it up as a Bluecoat; AUDITIONS: Youngsters pitch for stardom with hopes of entertaining holidaymakers.

Byline: By Catherine Lillington

IT MAY not be X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing but for these fleet-footed stars of the future, a Birmingham audition could be the first step on the path to stardom.

Wannabe Pontin's Bluecoats showed off their best soft shoe shuffle at open auditions in the city to become the next generation of holiday camp entertainers.

Dozens of wannabe stars went along to the Dance Exchange, in Thorp Street, yesterday to show off their singing and dancing talents to bosses from Pontin's.

They are scouring the country to find the next crop off Bluecoats to follow in the footsteps of X Factor starlet and local girl Kimberley Southwick, Steps singer Lisa Scott Lee, comic Lee Mack and soap actors Shane Ritchie and Bradley Walsh.

Julie Butcher, entertainment manager, said the talent scouts love visiting the city. "We always take quite a lot of people on from this area," she said. "We like coming here because you get really nice people who tend to be hard workers and get on with the job.

"Being a Bluecoat is a great job and a fantastic opportunity whether people just want to learn more or build on their own confidence. It is hard work but it's great fun as well. People who used to do the job said they were some of the best years of their lives and the most memorable."

Robert Pitts, who was the only man at the afternoon auditions, learned a party dance which he had to perform as part of a pair before doing a spot of compering.

The 24-year-old, who works in a bar and lives in Falcon Lodge, said: "I want to get into the entertainment industry and this is a fun job to do."

Angela Northam, aged 22, from Redditch, has wanted to be a Bluecoat since she was six.

She said: "I went on holiday to Pontin's and I absolutely loved it. I've never had the chance to become a Bluecoat until now. I went to university and have been in work for a year."

CAPTION(S):

CHILDHOOD DREAM... Angela Northam, 22, from Redditch.; THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT... Robert Pitts with Bluecoats Sam Davis (left) and Sarah Fretwell.; HELLO CAMPERS!... Blue Coat Sarah Fretwell running the dance auditions for a job as a Pontin's holiday rep. Pictures: Iain Findlay Photosales No.: IF091207Pontins-02; FAME... Bradley Walsh, Kimberley Southwick and Shane Ritchie.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 12, 2008
Words:397
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