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Wicked star Nikki Bentley bravely opens up about anxiety battle as she shares Defying Gravity performance

West End star Nikki Bentley has opened up about battling anxiety in a brave social media post.

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Nikki Bentley recently led the cast of Wicked as green witch Elphaba before departing the company at the start of 2020.

In a post on Instagram this week, Bentley shared a video of herself singing Defying Gravity alongside a powerful message about living with anxiety.

Noting that it was her first performance since leaving Wicked, Bentley wrote: “Having to leave Wicked was the most painful and heart wrenching decision I have ever had to make… Elphaba has always been my one and only dream and when I say I never thought it was, at all, possible…well that’s an understatement.

“Unfortunately things happen in life that you have absolutely no control over and my Elphaba journey was cut far too short.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDuA1y0naLq/

She explained: “Anxiety is one of the most awful things I have ever experienced in my life and inevitably it resulted in me having to make the impossible decision to leave the show and role I love and had dreamt so long for….Leaving me feeling like a complete and utter failure.

“I don’t write this for any other reason other than to reach out and help anyone else in the industry….friends, colleagues etc who are going through the same thing and feel completely alone.

“I want you to know you are NOT ALONE!!! Mental health is very much real and very much present within our industry and shouldn’t be treated any differently to a physical injury. There is such a stigma that comes with mental health which is wrong and you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit your struggles. I promise you once you open up and talk to someone the light to recovery starts to shine.”

Bentley went on to thank her friends, family and agents as well as Wicked fans for their support.

She concluded: “Anxiety hasn’t and will never beat me…I’m back, I’m 100 times stronger and a 100 times more resilient. I will be green and fly again one day and finish my Elphie journey properly and how I should have done. ?”

You can watch Bentley’s performance of Defying Gravity in the video above.

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.