Zoë Olivier Ellis always dreamt of a life in show business and now she has to literally prove she’s got the bottle for it.
Spending her formative years at school in Hemel Hempstead, Zoë never believed that when her opportunity came it would be straight into London’s West End by having to squeeze into a tiny bottle.
Zoë, 25, who grew up in Tring and trained at the Jackie Palmer Stage School, initially performed as a singer after she left school.
And it was that passion which led to taking a frightening career path. She saw a ‘Singer Wanted’ advert for in The Circus of Horrors which said ‘the applicant in addition to having a good singing voice must be flexible and must not suffer from claustrophobia’.
Most people might have been put off. But appearing in the show that stormed into the finals of Britain’s Got Talent and went on to become a West End smash was too good an opportunity to turn down for the Tring woman.
She said: “I thought it sounded a little strange but I’d seen the Circus of Horrors on Britain’s Got Talent and loved it so I thought I’d apply.
“I went along for the interview and was told that the job also included climbing out of a bottle, 2ft tall and 18in in diameter.”
She loved the idea and immediately went home and asked her mum to put her into anything small.
She started off with a dustbin, cupboards and even a washing basket until she got used to being confined in small places.
“After the interview I went for an audition and there was the bottle,” she recalled.
“With trepidation I tried to get inside, I failed at the first three attempts but on my fourth I did it and amazingly got the job,” she added.
An even bigger thrill for Zoë was that one of her first performances on the show was in the Lyric on London’s West End.
Now Zoë is a featured singer in the show which is on a nationwide tour as part of its 20th anniversary.
Circus of Horrors aims to take the Extreme to the Mainstream with TV credits including The X Factor, The Slammer, Daybreak and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
It also made history when it’s run in London meant it was the first circus to appear in a West End Theatre for 100 years.