Curtain comes up on love after romantic theatre proposal

  • Date

    Mon 14 Nov 22

Charlotte Button and Samuel Bell in The Lakeside Theatre

Romance took centre stage at the University of Essex when star-crossed lovers got engaged in the theatre they fell in love.

The curtain came up on the next stage of Samuel Bell and Charlotte Button’s lives when he popped the question last week on their sixth anniversary.

The couple, both 24, met at Essex, went on to complete undergraduate and masters dramas degrees and now work at the Lakeside Theatre.

Theatre technician Samuel invited Charlotte into the pitch-black amphitheatre pretending he was going to show her some new lights.

But the canny Romeo instead showed a heart-felt presentation about the Wivenhoe, Essex, couple’s six-year relationship and when the lights came up, he bent down on one knee.

Samuel said: “It was more nerve-wracking than any play I have been in but thankfully there were less lines to remember.

“Up until the big day I wasn’t nervous, but it all became very scary when I bent down on one knee and I realised it was going to happen.”

Charlotte added: “I was so surprised, I had no idea he was going to do it. He told me to come in and see the new lights and then a heart appeared on the curtain.

“Then the presentation came on and I was stunned. The night before we were talking about our anniversary and I said, ‘Obviously you are not going to propose to me’.

“It is the most romantic thing to ever happen to me especially as it is in the theatre.

“The University of Essex is a big part of our love story, it was where we met and the theatre was where we spent all our time – it is just magical.”

The proposal was made possible by Lakeside Theatre Technical Manager Harry Harris who operated the lights and sound and recorded the unusual engagement.

It seems Charlotte and Samuel’s wedding day could be just as theatrical.

The couple hope to get married at luxury Berkshire hotel The Oakley Court, which provided the backdrop for Frank-N-Furter’s gothic mansion in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Theatre manager Kanyinsola Olanrewaju said: “One of the most beautiful things about working in a theatre is seeing people actualise potential on stage and behind the scenes.

“But it is also incredible seeing how theatre creates a community and you meet people who change your life, Samuel and Charlotte are perfect examples of this.

“Everyone at the Lakeside Theatre wishes the happy couple all the best."