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Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Thursday, 5 October 2017

In Conversation With... Jane Booker | Interview

In Conversation With... Jane Booker | Interview
Thursday, 5 October 2017
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Jane Booker has had a varied an extensive career, starring in a number of television series and films including Finding Neverland, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and most recently in Sam Holcroft's play,  Rules For Living...


For anyone that doesn't know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?

I was in a sitcom called 'Don't Wait Up' when I was younger. I've done seasons with the RSC and I did work with Johnny Depp!


Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different career in mind when you were younger?

I wanted to be a dancer and for a long time- a vet!


What drew you to the role of Edith in Rules for Living?

She is a woman trapped in a cycle of behaviour and so desperate for everything to be perfect and controlled.


What can people expect when they come and see Rules For Living?

They will get a lot of laughs, some painful truths that may resonate and a lot of mess.


Can you sum up the show in 5 words?

mayhem, rules, christmas, custard, gravy.


What's your usual Christmas like? Have there been any epic fails?

I do the cooking. The turkey 'flew' onto the floor on one occassion. Sometimes I long to be on a beach with a sandwich!


What's a fun fact people may not know about you?

I am a rollercoaster nut


What's the last thing you do before you step out on stage?

I do some chewing so my mouth isn't dry


What's your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?

Do it! Tell yourself "they'd be lucky to have me" when going up for a job!
Wednesday, 4 October 2017

In Conversation With... Natasha Langridge | Interview

In Conversation With... Natasha Langridge | Interview
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
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Following on from Memoirs of a Tree, Natasha Langridge returns withIn Memory of Leaves. This monologue describes Natasha’s experience living in a block of flats on the Portobello Road council estate, which is being torn down by developers, and how all of her surroundings and green spaces are rapidly changing. The monologue also explores her work in Calais with the Occupy movement and the sadness people feel when they have to say goodbye to "home".



Did you grow up writing or was there something or someone which inspired you to write?

I’ve always written but I never showed anyone until after I’d started acting. I loved interpreting other writers work but I found that I had something to say too so I took my courage and showed my own work to other writer friends who, luckily, encouraged me to get it out there.



As well as writing, you perform and direct. How do you juggle each string to your bow and how do you smoothly transition from one to another?

I’ve got a very nice hat for each job and I look forward to wearing each one. I’m not sure I do anything smoothly except drinking wine.



Have you got any other quirky, hidden passions you’d like to pursue?

I went on a sailing trip recently. On an old Thames Sailing Barge .The main mast was 70ft high. I watched the mate climb the rigging. I helped unfurl the sail. I learnt how to tie a bowline knot. I helped steer the ship. I watched the moon rise up over the sea. I quite fancy being a pirate.



What’s your writing setup like? Do you have a certain playlist or drink you always have with you?

My vape. I move around to different places in my flat with my laptop. Or I sit on the floor with huge amounts of scrunched up paper strewn around me. Writing is terrifying. Like walking a tightrope.



In Memory of Leaves is extremely personal, did you feel a sense of pressure putting such an important story out into the world?

I felt a sense of compulsion. I’d just seen a beautiful park beneath my window massacred and felt I had to write about it and then shout about it. I am bearing witness to the ‘regeneration’ of my estate and of London and I have to tell its story-or my part in that story.



What’s the number one message you want people to take away from the show?

Live. From your heart. Speak out against injustice. We are living in a world run by psychopaths. We are living in a society based on a psychopathic model. Do whatever you can to protect love, all life and community. 



Finally, what’s your number one piece of advice for anyone hoping to get into the performing industry, be it writing, performing, directing or anything else?


Do it. Don’t wait for anyone else. Or for the phone to ring. Get some good training and make your own work. 


Thank you Natasha for taking the time to do this interview. In Memory of Leaves is being performed on a wide beam barge across three London locations. More information can be found at: https://goo.gl/QEXSrf
Thursday, 14 September 2017

In Conversation With... Joe McElderry | Interview

In Conversation With... Joe McElderry | Interview
Thursday, 14 September 2017
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Joe McElderry rose to fame when he became the winner of X Factor back in 2009 and since then has had a wide and varied career. He is currently playing the lead role of Joseph in UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We sat down to chat about Joseph, his career and tour life...



Have you always wanted to be a performer or did you have a different dream when you were younger?

I always wanted to be a paramedic actually when I was younger, or a nurse. I was always kind of really interested and fascinated in medicine and medical stuff and hospitals so yeah I wanted to be a paramedic before a singer.


Have you got any hidden passions that you'd like to pursue?

I dunno you know? ....I mean, I love sports and I love exercising and stuff so maybe something around that? What that is I don't know but I'm passionate about work outs and exercise kind of things.


You went from being a solo performer to TV and now to musical theatre. How were those transitions for you? Did you find them easy?

I think the transition from performing like my own material to then musical theatre was kind of a big transition. A lot of the other ones have obviously stemmed from TV shows so they've been kind of different transitions if that makes sense?


Your album Saturday Night at the Movies recently came out. How was the recording process for that and how have your fans reacted?

It was great! I mean it was quite a quick process recording the album. We're doing 10 shows of Joseph a week so recording and finding the time to fit that in was pretty intense but the reaction was great! It went to the top 10 and we went on the tour and it was amazing to kind of take the album on the road and be able to see first hand the reactions. You see the reaction as people are watching the show so its brilliant.


As you say, you recently toured with the album and are now touring with Joseph, so how do you find the tour life?

I love it! It can be very intense and very tiring at times but its kind of my favourite thing to be able to perform in front of an audience and like I was saying with the album, have that first hand response. I prefer being on tour more that I do recording and being in the studio and I just kind of enjoy the routine of it as well.


What drew you to the role of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamboat?

Well I was asked to do it about three or four times and I said no originally... well I didn't actually say no but I didn't really have the time and it just didn't fit into the schedule of what I was doing at each moment. But I was also quite apprehensive about taking on such a big role. I didn't want to be bad at it, I wanted to be good so when I was asked for the final time they said "we'll fit it around you, lets make it work", I was really nervous cause I wanted to do a good job of it.


What do you think people will be saying as they leave the show?

I hope they leave first of all feeling great and energised and happy and I hope we explain the story well through the emotion of it all.


How do you keep your voice healthy enough to do 10 shows a week?

I don't drink a lot of alcohol, that's certainly one. I get lots of sleep. I do lots of exercise and it's just about respecting your body and no going out after the shows and shouting in clubs and things like that. You've got to be quite sensible and you've got to pace yourself over 10 shows -it's a lot!


Have you got any other dream roles?

At the minute I'm just kind of like "whatever will be, will be". I've experienced many things in my career, some things that I've never expected and some things that have given so much that I never expected. So I'm kind of of the opinion that we'll see what's round the corner and if it's something that I can have fun with and learn from and grow from then I'll be a part of it.


What's a fun fact people might not know about you?

A fun fact people might not know about me?? I don't know! I think people know a lot of things about me... one of the joys of living in the public eye!! I really don't know... I'm a bit of a wind up! I like to wind people up- a bit of a practical joker!


What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?

Work hard and be respectful to people you work with and be prepared. There's many ups and downs and know that failure is probably one of the most beneficial things you could ever learn from!


A huge thank you to Joe for taking the time to do this interview. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is currently on tour around the country, you can find more information and dates here.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017

In Conversation With... Marta Jorgensen | Interview

In Conversation With... Marta Jorgensen | Interview
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
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I am all about helping new writing because who doesn't want something fresh? So when Marta Jorgensen contacted me about her show which she has written and is currently trying to raise funds for, I was very intrigued and excited to talk to her about her process and what she's trying to do... 



What got you into writing?

In my thirties I was married to a songwriter who ran off with his songwriting partner. In the beginning the urge to write was spurred on by wanting to get even. But as time goes by, one realises that revenge is a dish best left in the ice box. I was ready to throw it out and just write. Screenplays, songs, a lot of political writing and opinion pieces. 

I found it nice to be published until… well you know, then you get a rebuttal. I ran for political office in the US and wrote extensively for that. Sustainability, Straight Talk and Citizen Activism. Politics is like theatre and that inspired several songs about politics and media. From those songs came the play.


Has it always been a passion of yours? 

No, but singing has been since watching tiny Michael Jackson onstage at a young age singing like an adult. I wanted to be on stage at six years old. I caught a fame bug.


Can you explain what Donny the musical is about?

Donny is done as a play within a play or a kind of Metatheatre. I use this literary device; it is Rhoda’s inner workings, her mind and her thoughts, her emotional state. Freud talks about the dream within a dream and Shakespeare used it with success. The play talks about itself and is aware of itself. In the story she brings her family into her imagination, they sing about it, she sings about how she wants to write an ending she can live with. Rhoda in her dialogue calls attention to the plot and how it is not going her way. Characters give advice to her about what others should do.

Rhoda Haynes, a quirky New York playwright has a grudge against Frenchy King and his lying King Media Empire. Rhoda and her family are suing King Media over fake stories written about them. She can’t do anything or say anything to jeopardise it. But, she wants to get even. Hubert, Rhoda’s husband tells her to write and get it off her chest. So Rhoda, sitting at her desk, starts banging away on an old fashioned typewriter. She starts a play called “Donny and the Sun King”. Here is the story as she creates it - inserting herself and her family members, husband Hubert Haynes, daughter Blaze Haynes, as themselves (Rhoda Haynes, a playwright, Blaze Haynes, Rhoda’s daughter, a famous singer and Hubert Haynes, a Congressman). Just like in real life, the character family debates with Rhoda about plot issues involving them. Rhoda wants an ending she can live with so she tries to write one.



What made you write this show?

From the 80’s to now media has evolved and taken over our lives to an extent that we have lost control of it. Standing at the checkout counter you see name after name splashed there about some affair or travesty they had, then later you read the paper got sued for writing a fake story. Now everyday it’s on the Internet. I started this play three years ago with just that in mind. Now it’s done and we have Mr. Trump in office and all anyone talks about is fake news. So I have tapped into the zeitgeist of the times. But to tell you the truth, I have a fascination with the tabloid world. I love headlines like I married Bigfoot; Aliens are Living in my Basement. Frenchy King sings about these kinds of stories.


The subject is extremely relevant, what made you choose it?

The subject chose itself. How can you not write about it? It is today’s reality. How else can you write about Perry’s Poorhouse, Rhoda’s concept of Hell, a combination of Don Giovanni and Married with children and get away with it. Tabloid media lends itself to fanciful worlds and situations.


You’re raising the money for a score through Hatchfund, can you tell us a little about that?

Yes, Hatchfund is an arts crowd funding organisation. You have to submit to get accepted. They give you an account manager who baby sits you through the crowd funding process. They have a 75% success rate. I am raising money to hire a studio in Santa Barbara CA, Hidden City Studios and its owner, Elliot Lanam, to help flesh out the play songs and other music. 

It’s a long process and the biggest part of producing a musical of course. I need $4000 to $5000 to meet my goal by October 31, 2017. There are 19-20 songs with names like My Story, Ratings R Us, Donny’s Lament, Hope and Pride, Perry’s Poorhouse, Babel, Ball and Chain, What’s in a Word, Lower Slobovia. The music is a mix of styles, kids have their sound, the media upper class have their sound and the Rhoda and her family have a sound of their own. All pulled together by a thematic through line.


Did you model the characters on anyone you know?

Well yes, but I might not be able to divulge that. LOL. I don’t want to be sued. That would be too much like the story acting out itself.

But I have to say there is a lot of Rhoda Haynes in me. If you want to know what parts you will have to read the play and donate to the cause. Then I might reveal it.


If you could sum the show in 5 words what would they be?

Beware of writers with grudges.
Hilarious, satirical and very entertaining.


What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Go to school and learn it right. Treat writing like a job but be yourself. Or if you are not yourself, after you write for awhile you will find yourself. Then maybe you might want to lose yourself. 

Listen to the small still voice in your head at 5 AM saying get up I have a scene I want to work on. That’s the muse. Or it could be the TV. Most of my work comes while walking in nature. Writing is channeling the universe. A wise man once said that and I find it to be true.



Donate to Marta's campaign here.

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

In Conversation With... Stacey McClean and Stevi Ritchie | Interview

In Conversation With... Stacey McClean and Stevi Ritchie | Interview
Sunday, 3 September 2017
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Sword and the Dope is a musical retelling of the story of King Arthur, written by a dyslexic who can not read or write music but wrote the show as a bet/joke with a friend. It has now gone out for over 150 shows at three different venues prior to this run. Sword and the Dope stars Stacey McClean and Stevi Ritchie who sat down with Rewrite This Story to talk all about the show.



Can you both give a brief overview of your career and what your highlights have been?

Stacey: I was once a member of pop band S Club Juniors. Highlights from my time in the band were probably performing a Wembley and for the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Also getting down to the final 24 and performing for Kylie in Dubai when I went to the judges houses for X Factor.

Stevi: I started performing at the age of 15 at my high school in Grease the musical and played Kenickie. I've always loved performing but got many knock backs. But 2014 I entered the X Factor and since then life has changed.



You’re both musicians, how has the transition to concert performances to musical theatre been?

Stacey: In ways it is very different. Put me on stage with a mic and a band and I can do it with my eyes closed, but theatre is a little more challenging for me. It's a lot more intense, there is a lot of preparation involved and a lot more a stake. 

Stevi: For me it's been amazing and I've always loved musical theatre I trained at LSMT. Playing a prince in this show is great and taking me out of my comfort zone but I love it.



Can you explain what The Sword and the Dope is about?

Stacey: Sword and the Dope is a comedy musical with a politics edge. Think Monty Python, Black Adder and politics in a way you have never seen! 

Stevi: A sideways telling of King Arthur with a modern day political twist. One review said British humour at it's best with great musical numbers, for me that sums it up well. 



What drew you to the production? Are your characters anything like you?

Stacey: I play Sir Lancelot, a Knight who is a huge fan of the Green Party, so nothing like me really as I'm not into politics in the slightest. My character reminds me of Hermione from Harry Potter, slightly irritating, bit of a know it all who no one wants to listen to. The script was what sold it for me initially, I laughed my head off when I first read it. 

Stevi: I loved the script and especially the songs they are amazing. The character is similar to me it's cheesy and he loves singing.



The Sword and the Dope is a retelling of the story of King Arthur, if you could retell any story which would you choose?

Stacey: Amy Winehouse, now that would be a fantastic role!

Stevi: I would retell the story of maybe Bruce Lee or Elvis Presley or Freddy Mercury.



Can you sum up the show in five words?

Stacey: Funny, ridiculous, offensive, rude and camp! 

Stevi: Witty, camp,cheesy,Funny,eccentric.



Is there a play or musical you’ve seen recently that you loved?

Stacey: I have been to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at the Duke twice now I loved it so much.  

Stevi: I love Les Mis and Grease.



Do you have any dream roles?

Stacey: Dream role would probably be Sophie in Mamma Mia, the lead vocal in Thriller and anything Disney!

Stevi: Yes, Thenadier in Les Mis or Kenickie in Grease.



Whats a fun fact people might not know about you?

Stacey: I was one belt away from a Black Belt in Taekwondo when I was 7 but I gave it up because I wanted to sing!

Stevi: Think everyone knows everything about me due to the press and being in the public eye.



What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?

Stacey: You have to have a thick skin in the industry otherwise you won't survive. The amount of times you get knocked back is not necessarily a reflection of how good you are, and that's something you have to be prepared for. I'm a firm believer that you get out what you put in.


Stevi: Just keep going and be you.


Thank you Stacey and Stevi for this interview. The Sword and The Dope is on at Waterloo East Theatre from Tuesday 5th September until Sunday 1st October.

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

In Conversation With... Louis Dempsey | Interview

In Conversation With... Louis Dempsey | Interview
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
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Louis Dempsey has an extensive list of credits to his name including film, television and theatre. He will soon be starring in the English Touring Theatre's production of Conor McPherson's, The Weir which opens on September 8th at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester



For anyone that doesn’t know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?

I trained with Cygnet Training Theatre in Exeter. I've appeared in numerous stage productions including the original West End production of Stones in his Pockets, Romans in Britain at The Crucible, Sheffield, Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, Juno and the Paycock at Bristol Old Vic, Some Voices at The Young Vic, Brothers of the Brush at Liverpool Everyman. I've also appeared in another Conor McPherson play, The Seafarer, at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

On screen I've appeared in films such as Troy, Cloud Atlas, Shooters, Revolver, Grabbers, Six Bullets, Omagh, The Last Drop. I've also popped up on tv screens in Holby City, Waterloo Road, Sea of Souls and, of course, The Bill.

Highlight of my career so far? Hmm. Probably Troy because it was an amazing experience to be part of a huge Hollywood blockbuster movie with all that entails.



Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?

I never had any ambitions to become an actor. Where I grew up in Dublin your ambitions rarely went further than getting a job and a drink! I loved films as a child but I always assumed that actors came from Planet Actor. The idea that I might one day be up there on screen myself seemed utterly ridiculous.



What drew you to the role of Finbar in The Weir?

I don't know if one could say I was drawn to the role. My agent called, asked if I was interested in taking a meeting for a touring production of The Weir. I knew something of the play and having done The Seafarer (also by Conor McPherson) I was curious. When I read Finbar I kind of got where he was coming from but only in a very rough way.

When people come to see this production of The Weir they can expect to hear the best story they will hear all year! No doubt at all.



Can you sum up the show in five words?

Hmm. Funny. Poignant. Scary. Moving. Uplifting.



How is the 20th anniversary production of The Weir bringing something new to the modern classic?

Well I have never seen a production of The Weir so I cannot compare but I will say that The Weir is such a complete story, with so many layers and revelations about life, love, sadness, joy, heartbreak and happiness that I don't think it is even accurate to describe it as a modern classic. The Weir is simply a classic, regardless of when it was written or set.



What’s a fun fact people may not know about you?

Prince Charles once asked me to have a drink with him. I did. It was fun.



If you could go back to any era, when would you go to and why?

Well, I'm not a big fan of the past. I suspect that if I did travel back in time to a bygone era, people there would say "What the hell are you doing here??!! There's no email and toilets haven't been invented. Are you crazy???”


What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?


You have two eyes, two ears and a mouth. Use them in that order. 


Thank you so much Louis for taking the time to do this interview. The Weir starts touring on September 8th and continues through to November 25th. More information and tickets can her found here.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017

In Conversation With... Emma Kingston | Interview

In Conversation With... Emma Kingston | Interview
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
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In my opinion, Emma Kingston has one of the absolute best voices on the West End. I've been fortunate enough to see her in a number of shows and concerts, including Les Miserables, In The Heights and most recently, the stunning Fiddler on the Roof at the Chichester Festival theatre. Emma was kind enough to sit down and discuss Fiddler, After Anatevka, her hidden passion and more...




Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different dream when you were younger?

I've always wanted to be a performer. I used to sing Les Mis and Anything Goes with my dad all the time. 



Have you got any hidden passions you’d like to pursue?

I love Psychology! As an actor I love getting inside a characters brain. I studied Psychology at A Level and I would love to further my understanding of why people are the way they are. Furthering my study's would interest me as well as it being useful as an actor.



What drew you to the role of Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof- are the two of you alike in any ways?

I'm jewish, so growing up Fiddler was always being quoted around the house. I used to watch the film with my grandma. Also, ‘Far from the Home I Love’ was the first song I ever sang in a singing lesson when I was 11.



How is this production bringing something new to the well-loved musical?

We are so lucky that our production in Chichester has amazing new orchestrations by David White and new choreography by Alistair David, bringing a fresh take on the brilliant musical.

Sam MacKay (Usnavi) and Emma Kingston (Vanessa) in In The Heights

Do you feel any extra responsibility or pressure playing one of the few explicitly Jewish female characters in musical theatre?

I feel a responsibility to show the traditions in a way that people of other cultures can relate to. I want to show people that Judaism is a way of life as well as a religion. The community aspect for me is so important.



What’s your research process like for each role you take on, has After Anatevka helped add a new dimension to your portrayal?

For Fiddler I dived into researching about Russia pre 1905 and Russian attitudes towards jewish people. Also looking at Jewish culture in shetles in Russia. My paternal grandparents were children of immigrants from Lithuania and Oddessa, so I had lots of family history to draw on.

After Anatevka I am enjoying so much, especially now I understand so much more about Hodel. I’m loving reading her journey after she leaves home, and how Alexandra has filled in the parts of Fiddler that we don't see in the musical. 



If you’d written After Anatevka would you have given Hodel the same after story? 

Alexandra's story has portrayed so many aspects of Hodel's life during the Fiddler story and after that I thought about a lot. Especially the way she highlights her relationship with her sisters and Perchik. As I'm reading, I feel that the story all completely slots into place and I can't imagine her next journey any other way.



Tradition is obviously the central theme in Fiddler. Do you have any family traditions?

My family traditions are the Fiddler traditions! Every Friday night my family and I get together for a shabbat meal. We celebrate Jewish festivals like Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Passover and many others.

Emma Kingston (Hodel), Simbi Akande (Tzeitel) , Rose Shalloo (Chava) in Fiddler on the Roof

How do you keep your voice healthy? Do you have any vocal rituals?

Drink endless amounts of water and concentrate on centring your breathing.  



If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?

After Fiddler, I'm playing Eva Peron in the Hal Prince production of Evita, international tour and I can't wait! My mum is Argentine, so it's a huge bucket list role, much like Hodel in Fiddler is! 



Whats a fun fact people might not know about you?

One of my first words was Archemeaies (the owl from sword in the stone) my parents were so proud haha! 



What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?


Don't compare your journey to anybody else's. Be original. I read a quote by Steve Martin "Be so good they can't ignore you”, to me that means work as hard as you can on being the best you can be.



Thank you so much Emma for taking the time for this interview. Fiddler on the Roof runs until September 2nd. 

Read my review of After Anatevka here and keep an eye out for an interview with Alexandra Silber and a giveaway!

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