When she was studying musical theatre in Epsom last year Phoebe Jones must have dreamed of being famous one day.

But she could not have imagined that six months later she would be headline news around the world after escaping from a box on a sinking ship during a magic show.

As the huge Costa Concordia tipped over on its side off the Italian coast on Friday night Miss Jones, 20, was performing on stage to some of the 4,000 passengers. As scenery crashed off the stage and the audience headed for the exits she found herself trapped in a magicians box.

Fortunately stagehands rushed to free her before the lights went out.

Although she was scared she managed to get to the nearest rendezvous point before being rescued from the stricken vessel.

The talented performer, who comes from Walton and only graduated from Laine Theatre Arts in East Street, last July, described watching her beloved ship sink from a ferry off the Italian coast as surreal.

Safely back in her home in Walton after flying back to Britain on Saturday she went on Facebook to let friends and family know she was safe and pay tribute to those less fortunate than herself.

She said: “So glad to be home. Thank you all so much for everyone's love and messages, I will be in touch as soon as I can. My heart goes out to all of Costa Concordia and to those still suffering. And to all the heroes, who’s actions made such a difference to the disaster. The Wonderful Costa Concordia. Makes me so sad to see this video. An incredible ship, once full of incredible people. My heart goes out to everyone xx.”

Miss Jones graduated with a national diploma in musical theatre from the £15,000 a year independent arts school which trained the likes of Victoria Beckham, actress and dancer Ruthie Henshall and Lee Latchford Evans from Steps.

Within weeks she had got a job as a singer and dancer performing a repertoire of West End numbers on board the Costa Concordia.

Betty Laine, the school's founder told the Epsom Guardian she has spoken to her on the phone this week: "She said it’s very hard to believe it actually happened to her.

"She has masses of friends who have been here before and she did say she’s had absolutely incredible support from all her friends.

"She will some in to see us when she has sorted herself out and had some rest. We are very proud of the way she has conducted herself during and since.

"I don’t think anybody, least of all Phoebe, knows exactly what’s going to happen now. They are just very glad to be alive and back in the security of their homes, but she was having an absolutely fabulous time and said she had had the most wonderful six months prior to that terrible accident.

"They have the most incredible facilities, bigger than a West End theatre, with revolving stages. It is such an incredible start to their career because they have the chance to visit and be paid to visit exotic places around the world.

"She’s a very lovely, energetic, strong personality but for anybody, however strong their personality, is its going to take a while to get over that sort of trauma."