Sixteen-year-old Raymond Arthur Skinner, from Germiston High School, is currently starring as a villager in Beauty and the Beast Junior.
Directed by Jill Girard and Keith Smith, the fairytale was originally written by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.
The legend focuses on a cruel young prince who is turned into a beast by an enchantress.
To break the spell, the beast must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose.
The play is currently showing at People’s Theatre in Braamfontein until December 23.
Earlier this year Raymond lived in Cape Town for eight months before moving to Germiston, and in that short period he met Darryl Spijkers.
Darryl was his drama teacher whom he calls one of his greatest inspirations.
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“Not only did he spark within me the love for performing but he also nourished my passion for dramatic arts and has been a great help in many ways,” said Raymond.
“My school, family and my partner, Caitlin Paige Gordon, who shares my passion for theatre, have also played a pivotal role in ensuring my success in this play, and for that I am grateful.”
This is Raymond’s first big production and he attributes his newly found confidence to recent school plays and local productions.
Thinking he had failed the auditions, Raymond was shocked when he heard he was selected as a cast member.
Though he is generally a shy person, and being on stage at first seemed daunting, the young actor said his passion has helped him crawl out of his comfort zone.
“Getting along with the rest of the cast has definitely done me favours,” he joked.
“The environment and everyone at People’s Theatre are absolutely fantastic and they’ve taken some of the introvert out of me.
“I am at the age where I have to start thinking about my future and a career path.
“People’s Theatre receives a lot of attention and hopefully I can get a bigger role some day through that attention, leading to both a successful and exciting career.”
Before taking to the stage, Raymond has his own rituals which include standard warms up, stretches, a preparation talk in which he encourages himself and lastly a bonding session with the rest of the cast.
“This show seems like a really good place to start an acting career, and although my role isn’t a major one, it is definitely a good start,” he said.
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