Zeta-Jones participated in school stage shows from a young age and gained local media attention when her rendition of a Shirley Bassey song won a Junior Star Trail talent competition. As part of a dance troupe, she routinely took trips to London, where she auditioned for roles in the theatre. At the age of nine, she was selected to play one of the orphan girls in a West End production of the musical Annie, and in her early teens, she became a national tap-dancing champion. In 1981 she played the lead role of Annie in a Swansea production of the musical, which was staged at the Swansea Grand Theatre. Two years later, she played the lead role of Tallulah in a West End production of Bugsy Malone. When she was 15, Zeta-Jones dropped out of school without obtaining O-levels and decided to live in London to pursue a full-time acting career; she was also engaged to perform in a touring production of The Pajama Game. Describing her teenage years in London, Zeta-Jones said, "I would queue up for auditions and then change my costume or put on a different leotard and audition again. It might take me two tries, but I always got the job. I figured out what they wanted". She went on to attend the independent Arts Educational Schools in Chiswick, London, for a three-year course in musical theatre.
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