Ibinabo Jack was a pupil of St. Peter’s High School in Orrell before attending Winstanley from 1999-2001.
She studied Combined English, Performing Arts and Psychology and originally intended on studying Criminology or Law at University.
However, after falling in love with Musical Theatre whilst at college, she decided to go down this route.
Ibinabo says: “I played on the netball team during my first year at Winstanley but had to choose between that and Performing Arts as practice and rehearsals took place during the ‘free period’ on Wednesday afternoons. I chose Performing Arts and I’ve never looked back. My time at Winstanley College was the best – I learned so much about myself, my career options and I made some lifelong friends.
After Winstanley I applied to drama schools and started auditioning for West End musicals and despite not having an agent or any drama school training, I managed to reach the final stages for the role of Joanne in RENT and Nala in The Lion King, both of which were being cast by Pippa Ailion.
Pippa kept in touch, calling me personally to attend auditions and eventually cast me in my professional acting debut in 2004, originating the role of Nala in The Legend of the Lion King in Disneyland, Paris. Coincidentally, on the day that I signed my contract at Disney, I got a letter from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, offering me a place with a Dance & Drama Award. I deferred my place for 1 year, forfeiting my scholarship.
I stayed at The Lion King for 22 months and on the advice of Pippa, decided to re-audition for Mountview. At this point I had never undertaken a singing, acting or dancing lesson but I was offered a place with a full scholarship for the second time!
I was at Mountview from 2006-9 and I had an amazing 3 years. I worked really hard (working 3 part time jobs – one as the college’s cleaner on Sundays) and I ended up getting a 1st class degree and a record 52 agent offers!
My first job after graduating was originating the role of ‘Pilar’ in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Savoy Theatre which was my West End debut and so much fun. I stayed with the show for 2 years then went on to play ‘Olivia’ in the European premiere of The Color Purple The Musical. Subsequent shows include Porgy & Bess at Royal Danish Theatre, Copenhagen, Little Shop of Horrors at Royal Exchange and Hot Stuff at Oldham Coliseum.
I auditioned for Dreamgirls in June 2015 when I was living back at home in Wigan and working 3 part time jobs. The auditions went really well but I didn’t hear anything back after my final so I carried on working and auditioning for other projects. Then on 26th of November 2015 (Thanksgiving), I got 2 phone calls from my agent. The first was an offer from The Bodyguard U.K. Tour and 6 minutes later, I was offered the role of Lorrell Robinson in Dreamgirls!
That day my life changed forever. This role and this show really are dreams come true (excuse the pun). The music, the story and the characters are so much a part of my existence. It is a absolute honour to play this part, in this show at this time. I’ve worked hard all of my life and it’s so humbling to finally realise my dreams. The cast and company are incredible and as the only British Dreamgirls, I’m the luckiest Wiganer in the world!
I am so grateful for Winstanley College – and especially Andy Stott – for encouraging me to discover my acting and singing potential.”