The Early Years
Laura Michelle Kelly was born in Totton, near Southampton, however it was on a farm on the Isle of Wight, across the Solent, where she lived from the age of nine. It seems that boredom and local amateur acting classes led Laura, her brothers and the local children into putting on shows for their neighbours. This childhood experience aided by a supportive and musical family drew Laura along a path towards singing, dance and acting. While it has been a bumpy journey at times, she has kept her dreams in focus, never wavered from her faith and has, in a short time, achieved something many aspire to but few ever reach.
While on the Isle of Wight Laura trained at the Shanklin Stagecoach of Performing Arts and at Gillian Cartwright's Academy of Dance, she also gained some valuable early stage experience in The Sound of Music in which she played several roles as she grew up over the four summer seasons she performed in.
Her arrival in the West End came when she was still only 16 and in the middle of her A' levels; She travelled to London with her mother who had an idea that Laura could gain experience in professional open auditions and get used to the rejection that normally accompanies such events however things were not to go quite to plan. Following the audition for Beauty and the Beast, which was on at the Dominion Theatre, she was cast in the ensemble, playing a dustpan and brush; Then, shortly afterwards, as the second understudy for the part of Belle. Straight away Laura dropped her school books and headed off to London on her own. It was the first time Laura had to live away from her family and she relied heavily on the two other girls, who were also cast members that she shared accommodation with, to show her how to cook and wash her clothes. Laura frequently reminisces in interviews over the Smash mash potato and haggis she lived on (which as someone who passionately hates mashed anything, I can only imagine must have been hell). She also used to get around the dirty clothes problem by buying new jeans which I would guess all sixteen year olds would do if they had an income and no one to do the washing.
Laura rarely had the chance to perform in the lead role, indeed the girl who had been the second understudy for the previous year, had not been called on at all, however the first time she was told she would be performing she immediately phoned every agent she knew of; the two who turned up both offered her contracts.
It was during this time that she met Nick Winston. Indeed it was during her audition that they first met and while he made an immediate impression on her, Laura was about the three hundredth aspiring young actress he had met that day, with braces on her teeth, sensible shoes and a shiny brown suit that her mum had made her wear, he was hardly to be blamed. It was during the time they spent together while he taught Laura her solo pieces that they became close, often snatching time together at the theatre under the guise of Laura having guitar lessons.
Chapter 2 - Romance and Whistling down the wind.