A doctor plans to swap the operating theatre for another stage to fulfil her dream of becoming an actress.

Lewis Barfoot is hoping to swap walking Brighton's hospital wards with treading the West End boards and exchange her surgical spirit for greasepaint.

The 28-year-old is not worried about giving up her job with the NHS to battle with the hundreds of out-of-work actors in auditions.

Comedian Harry Hill successfully made the transition from a medical background to stage and screen and Lewis is confident she can follow suit.

She said: "I have been wanting to do this for ten years and have now plucked up the courage.

"After working in hospitals for three-and-a-half years, I think I have enough experience to be able to come back.

"I have been in plays at school and was in lots at university. But I want to get a year's schooling under my belt so I have the skills to do television, radio, comedy, classical acting or whatever comes my way."

Lewis said it would be nice to be paid thousands of pounds to record a quick advertisement but, failing that, she would take whatever was on offer.

Her ideal roles would be Helena from A Midsummer Night's Dream or the lead in Educating Rita.

Meanwhile, she is appearing in a production in Brighton this week, called The Woman Who Washed Her Knickers, at the New Venture Theatre in Bedford Square.

Although she has a lot of experience, Lewis knew if she wanted to act professionally, she had to make the leap sooner rather than later.

She said: "My cut-off point was 30. I am 28 now and, apparently, the average for people to do post-graduate drama courses is 27.

"I could pass for any age between 20 and 35 and in my current production I play a 50-year-old woman."

Lewis, originally from Walthamstow in east London, has lived in Brighton since completing her medical degree at Southampton University.

She has worked at Brighton General Hospital and the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

She has already been accepted for two competitive drama courses.

She said she was waiting to see which provided her with the best offer.

However, it is still likely to cost her in excess of £10,000 for the year's tuition and Lewis is keen to find out if anyone would sponsor her. She can be reached on 07966 548086.