Do you, pirate, take this mermaid to be your lawful wedded wife?
Actress Michelle Roberts’ on-stage partner in a seafaring fun act is set to become her partner for life after surprising her with a proposal as she took a trip down Memory Lane to a Fylde theatre.
Michelle, 32, grew up in South Shore and the latest feature of her colourful stage career is playing a mermaid in a double act at children’s parties and other fun events, with boyfriend Ian Black - stage name Xander Black – completing the double act as a pirate.
During a weekend back to see family on the Fylde coast, Michelle took Ian for a tour of Lowther Pavilion, where she first trod the boards as a youngster - and he proposed on the stage.
The couple are to be married at the Clifton Arms Hotel in Lytham next January.
“I had no idea he was planning to propose- but I had no hesitation is saying yes,” said Michelle.
Ian made sure he asked both my parents’ permission
“Lytham is so special to me, as Lowther was the first theatre in which I performed and I have wonderful memories of being in my favourite panto, Mother Goose, at Lowther in 2013.
“I have lots of family in the area and the Clifton Arms is the obvious choice. It really was the most perfect proposal.”
Michelle, who has worked as an actor, singer, dancer, illusionist and entertainment manager as well as currently a mermaid, is a former pupil of Roseacre Primary School and Highfield High and studied performing arts at Blackpool and the Fylde College and her aunt Lynda Clarkson is the director of the Lytham Acadamy of Theatre Arts, under which Michelle got her early stage opportunities.
Mum Carol lives in St Annes and dad Vic in Blackpool, while sisters Amanda, Nicola and Christina, who all also live locally, are all set to be bridesmaids.
“Ian made sure he asked both my parents’ permission before he proposed which they both loved as he is a bit of a romantic.” said Michelle.
“Our paths first crossed some years ago but we met again when we working on the same production and I have eventually moved to Gloucester to be with him
“I was worried at first about commuting from there to London, where most of the work is, but it has not beebn a problem at all.”
Ian, 30, has been working as an actor and children’s entertainer all his career - but Michelle explained that the pirate/mermaid duo came about by pure chance.
“He came to pick me up from the theatre one day but I had left my mermaid’s tale behind,” she said.
“With us having to go through the venue to get to the car and lots of children still about after the performance, we thought it wouldn’t look right for me to try and walk, so Ian suggested he carry me.
“I had a pirate costume in the dressing room from another act I was doing, he put that on to make it look more realistic. It was really well received and the idea of the double act came from there.
“As well as doing our own pirate parties, we perform in tours with Panto Bus and I am also working closely with Fin2Fit who are the only accredited Mermaid swimming course in the UK.
“I am so much looking forward to the wedding and I really feel I am living a real-life fairy tale.”