Morecambe musical star had to learn to walk again before stage role

Seymour (Paul Jones) frightens Audrey (Emily Prescott) with the plant Audrey II. Photo by John Atkinson.
Seymour (Paul Jones) frightens Audrey (Emily Prescott) with the plant Audrey II. Photo by John Atkinson.

In November 2012, Emily Prescott woke up and couldn’t use her legs.

Just over two years later, Emily will step onto the theatre stage to play the lead role in a musical after learning how to walk again.

The 32-year-old teacher from Heysham, who plays Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Lancaster Grand this week, has made a full recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as M.E.

The condition affects 250,000 people in the UK.

“I had been struggling with tiredness for about a year and I thought it was just stress, with being a teacher,” said Emily, who works at Morecambe Road School.

“My legs gave way a couple of times but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

“I’d done a Christmas concert at school with the kids and taken them carol singing, then went to bed and woke up ready for school on the Monday. I tried to get up but couldn’t move my legs.”

Emily had swelling on her spinal cord, which was causing her chronic pain and extreme exhaustion.

She had to go through intensive rehabilitation until eventually she was able to walk again.

“I was in hospital for a couple of months and off work for a year and a bit,” she said.

Emily was handpicked by local company About Theatre to play the role of Audrey, the love interest of Seymour, the hapless shop assistant who becomes an overnight sensation when he grows a flesh-eating plant.

Prior to her illness, she performed on the local stage in The Railway Children, Jekyll and Hyde, and The King and I playing opposite Richard Prescott - the man who later became her husband.

Richard will also be doing the lighting for Little Shop of Horrors, which runs at the Grand from tomorrow until Saturday. For booking details call 01524 64695.

nEmily’s pupils at Morecambe Road School are so excited about their teacher’s stage comeback they have made her a few special presents.

nChildren at the special school created a whole range of alien plants out of craft materials and the ‘Little Shop’ cast judged the best ones. The winners then got to visit the set of the show and even had the chance to meet ‘Audrey II’, the giant flesh-eating plant puppet and star of the show.

nProceeds from Little Shop of Horrors will go to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

About Theatre was formed in 2000 by Morecambe thespian Roger Bradley, who died of skin cancer in 2007 at the age of 43. The company has since raised more than £15,000 for melanoma charities.