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Diary: Fairytale tweet rewards elf-determination

Mike Rogers
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Tabard enjoys a happy ending. Get your mind out of the gutter – a story with a happy ending. Especially at Christmas time.

So, meet Theatreland’s very own Tiny Tim: Mike Rogers, a South African-born performer working at Hamleys toy shop on Regent Street in London as a dancing elf. As a kid, he attended a stage school in Cape Town, before coming to the UK to pursue his acting dream. To make ends meet, he got a job as a ‘temporary elf’ – supporting Santa to bring Christmas cheer – while he applied to drama schools.

In a cruel twist of fate, none of them offered him a place (boo, hiss!) so Mike’s elf-employed status became more permanent. He’d been working at Hamleys for three years when, this Christmas, his Fairy Godmother appeared – if not in the traditional puff of smoke, then using the modern equivalent: Twitter. Fellow actor Alice Orr-Ewing saw Mike strutting his stuff outside the toy store and posted a clip to social media with the tongue-in-cheek comment: “Leading role, they said. West End location, they said.”

Though meant as a wistful observation on the vagaries of a performer’s life, it was mistaken by some on Twitter as a vicious slight, thinking that Orr-Ewing was belittling Mike.

The video went viral and Mike has since had approaches from agents. It all goes to confirm that old showbusiness adage: there are no small parts, only small actors.

Exclusive interview with Hamleys’ viral dancing elf Mike Rogers: “Quite a few big actors started here”

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