Theatre worker's 'magical' marriage proposal in Colchester is happy surprise for girlfriend

131122 Lakeside Theatre Samuel Bell and Charlotte Button
Samuel Bell, 24, popped the question to Charlotte Button, also 24, at Lakeside Theatre in Colchester Credit: PA Images

A groom-to-be organised a dramatic marriage proposal for his girlfriend at the theatre where they fell in love.

Samuel Bell, 24, popped the question to Charlotte Button, also 24, at Lakeside Theatre in Colchester, where they both now work.

Theatre technician Mr Bell invited Ms Button into the pitch-black amphitheatre pretending he was going to show her some new lights.

But instead he showed a presentation about the couple's six-year relationship and when the lights came up, he got down on one knee.

The couple, of Wivenhoe, Essex, met when they were drama students at Essex University and got engaged on their sixth anniversary last week.

Miss Button said: "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."

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

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

And the couple's wedding day could be just as theatrical, as they hope to get married at The Oakley Court hotel in Berkshire which provided the gothic mansion backdrop in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Theatre manager Kanyinsola Olanrewaju said: "Everyone at the Lakeside Theatre wishes the happy couple all the best."