Growing up in Bonython in Tuggeranong, Cameron Boxall quickly swapped soccer boots for tap shoes.
"My parents put me in soccer when I was about seven or eight and then realised I was skipping around the soccer field and thought, 'No, that's probably not what he's into'," Cameron said, with a laugh.
"They put me into a pair of tap shoes and I started dancing at the age of nine."
That was the beginning of what turned out to be a hard-fought career in musical theatre, Cameron now part of the ensemble in the new stage production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which is on at Sydney's Capitol Theatre until the end of the year before moving to Brisbane and Melbourne.
Cameron, 31, is in the ensemble of the show, also an understudy for the roles of Belle's father Maurice and Cogsworth the clock.
Beauty and the Beast holds a special place in his heart, the original animated movie released in 1991, making it almost as old as him.
"Disney has always been a formative part of my childhood, as it's been for a lot of people I know. And I think with Beauty and the Beast and my age, we've kind of followed each other through life," he said.
Cameron said he was "wildly excited" when it was announced Beauty and the Beast, produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, was coming to Australia. He knew he wanted to be part of it.
"Booking it was kind of a dream come true moment for me and to do it for Disney, is kind of a bucket list kind of thing," he said.
"It's incredibly magical and every night you hear the gasps from the audience. People are just transported. And, to be honest, for me, there's nothing more compelling in the show than the music.
"It blows people away every night and I'm so proud to be up there telling the story to people who are my age and the grandparents and the people holding hands on a date. It's the best."
Cameron attended Bonython Primary and St Mary MacKillop College in Wanniassa and Isabella Plains. It was at high school his love for theatre was encouraged, appearing in lots of musicals including Guys and Dolls in year 12.
"[MacKillop] had a fantastic drama and dance program there that really kind of inspired me and took charge of where I am today," he said.
Cameron also attended local dance schools including Dance Edge.
At 19, he moved to Sydney to study with the performing arts academy ED5 International. He's performed internationally on Princess Cruises, at Universal Studios Singapore, and also toured Australia and Germany with award-winning group The Tap Pack, and Australia and New Zealand as a dancer with Michael Jackson The Legacy Tour.
"I just kept auditioning and luckily Beauty and the Beast came my way at a perfect time and here we are," he said.
Beauty and the Beast opened in June, with the cast already performing more than 100 shows.
Cameron credits his dad Mark, who now lives in Merimbula, and his mum Lynette, who passed away in February, with giving him the confidence to pursue his dreams.
"They literally believed in me and got me to where I am today by being so loving and supportive," he said.
Tickets at www.beautyandthebeastmusical.com.au
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