The title of Louis Smith’s new show, Bring It On, is just perfect for this Peterborough athlete turned performer. Recently becoming a father and engaging in a full-on house renovation as well as rehearsals for the stage show – it’s exactly the phrase he uses when it comes to meeting all these challenges.

Appearing in Bring It On at the New Theatre is certainly a fresh challenge for our local hero, other than an appearance in panto this is his first acting role, and he admits it’s a whole new world from the Olympics and winning Strictly Come Dancing.

“Picking something as hard and challenging as the performing arts – I haven’t given myself the easiest route.” Louis told ESP. “ When I watch some of the pro’s they’re absolutely incredible, they’ve been training for years, gone through Performing Arts College and graduating and taking baby steps through the industry and I’m trying to go in at the deep end and be able to stay afloat.”

This smash hit stage musical, inspired by the 2000 hit comedy film about a college cheerleading squad is coming to Peterborough at the end of this month (November 26 – December 4) and pairs Louis as Cameron with musical theatre and TV star Amber Davies as Campbell. So far we’ve only seen Louis dance in his hugely successful series of Rip It Up shows and he certainly had the moves, so we’re looking forward to seeing how he handles this role because as well as acting, he’ll also be demonstrating his rapping skills!

“One thing in gymnastics I’ve always been good at is watching, observing and trying to put what other people do into my own style and absorb as much information as I can,” Louis told ESP.

“I am fast tracking it a little bit but I’m learning as much as I can from amazing people like Selladoor and the Rip It Up shows and Strictly – all those experiences I try and use in my arsenal to perform at the best of my abilities, so I’m in great hands.

“It’s a manageable bite size role for me, it’s a great stepping stone into the Performing Arts world and I’m just very excited to see how my acting, rapping and dancing all come together. It’s not the main role – it’s not as though the whole show is dependent on how my acting skills are, which is nice.”

Bring It On the musical features an original score by the multi award winning creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize winning Tom Kitt, composer of Next To Normal and features a talented cast of West End performers.

It’s an energy-fuelled show which tackles friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness – wrapped up in explosive choreography and tricks.

Cheer-royalty and newly crowned Squad Captain, Campbell (Amber Davies), should be embarking on her most cheertastic senior year at Truman High School. When she’s forced to move to the neighbouring hard-knock Jackson High, Campbell fears her life is over. But an unlikely friendship catapults Campbell back into contention with a powerhouse squad and the fire to achieve the impossible.

“It’s good old cheesy fun,” says Louis, “and it’s going to be combined with amazing music, acting and of course Amber Davies stars.

“My character's kind of like the cool kid, reluctant to get involved, he’s the college Jock… and then he finds out Michael Jordan once started out as a college cheer leader so he thinks, OK I’ll give it a try. So it’s about me being too cool for school and then being roped into joining the squad.”

ESP loves to celebrate our home-grown talent and we’ve followed Louis’ career throughout so when he appeared at the New Theatre in dance show Rip It Up of course we were there to support him… but so was most of Peterborough! Bring It On is premiering in the city ahead of its national tour and Louis told us performing here is extra exciting for him.

“It’s very special to perform here. We were one of the first shows to go into the theatre when it opened with Rip It Up and the reception was insane. I don’t know if it was just that everyone enjoyed being on a night out, or the fact I was performing to a home town crowd, but it was electric and everyone back stage was like – ‘Oh my God Peterborough’s insane’.

“I’ve been performing and competing my whole life but it’s always been in different places and around the world so to bring a little bit of that back here and have friends and family and supporters come, it’s just a great feeling.”

Bring It On will at The New Theatre from Friday 26 November - Saturday 4 December so book now on www.newtheatre-peterborough.com