Category Archives: INTERVIEWS

INTERVIEW: Keith Jack talks about his tour and album Movie Nights

Keith Jack is probably best-known for finishing second on BBC 1’s Any Dream Will Do but his theatre credits since leaving the show are impressive: The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour); Charlie in Only The Brave (Edinburgh Festival); Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour); Alistair in Sincerely, Mr Toad (Edinburgh/Greenwich); Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore (UK Tour) and Sparky in Forever Plaid (St James Theatre, London).

No stranger to pantomime, Keith’s credits include: the title role in Aladdin (King’s Theatre, Glasgow); the Prince in Sleeping Beauty (Ipswich Regent); the title role in Peter Pan (His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen), Prince Charming in Cinderella (Whitley Bay/Horsham/Newark) and the title role in Dick Whittington (Maidstone). This season he will be starring as The Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks).

Keith’s newly-released fourth album, Movie Nights, features classic songs from iconic movies, here he talks about the inspiration for the album and the tour to promote it and answers some questions about his career.

This album, and the forthcoming tour, has come from my massive love of films from a young age. I wanted to find a good mix of songs – both young and old – with all different styles and have them led by strings, giving a different feel to all other movie albums. I feel like we have really achieved this, making it more my own style without losing why people fell in love with the song in the first place.

I couldn’t have done it without my lovely friend and MD, Scott Morgan, who did all the arrangements on the album and played the piano beautifully! He was supported by fantastic string players in January Tewson, Jade Cuthburt, James Greenfield and Naomi Wright; thank you for your lovely playing on this album.

A big thank you to Kristian Polly for recording the album and for a fun day in the church recording the strings and also to Istage Studio for letting me use their fantastic facilities to record in. A special thank you to Jim Lang who Mixed and Mastered the whole album, making it sound exactly how I imagined it would be. Also, a special mention to Ian Fraser for all the pictures and the album artwork. I have been lucky enough to have a fantastic team around me to do this album and I couldn’t have done it without them all.

My last mention goes to my family and friends for their help and support in creating this album. And, of course, not forgetting you – my amazing fans. Thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey over the last 10 years. From coming to concerts, buying albums and your support on social media, I can’t thank you enough! I hope you enjoy this album just as much as my others. This tour is the most perfect way to celebrate its release! So, sit back, grab your popcorn and enjoy!

Q & A Interview

Some former talent show contestants claim that the process leaves them feeling manipulated and exploited. Did your experience in Any Dream Will Do make you feel that way?

No, not at all. We were kind of moulded and helped and nurtured to be the kind of performer that Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted. I never felt as though I was just a cog in a money-making wheel.

An amazing 21 million viewers tuned into the final of the series, in June 2007, and Lee Mead went on to wow the West End critics as Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s magical musical. But you couldn’t even console yourself with the prospect of performing the role in the touring production of the show. That opportunity had already been offered to Craig Chalmers, who finished fifth in the competition. Surely, you must have been gutted and, perhaps, even a little resentful?

Not at all. I was actually still competing in the programme when Craig was eliminated and Bill Kenwright offered him the part of Joseph.

To prove that you held no hard feelings, you accepted the role of Narrator in the touring version, alongside Craig Chalmers, as Joseph, and fellow competitor Chris Barton, who finished in eighth place, as Benjamin. Tell me about that?

I loved it. And, actually, it’s a bigger singing role than Joseph.

They say, though, that everything comes to he who waits and, eventually, you got to actually play the role that you competed for. How did that feel?

It was just a really nice feeling to finally get to do it. I was able to relax and settle into it a lot easier than I would have done if I’d come to it straight from the show. We had some great audiences on the tour and it was nice to see all different parts of the country.

Was it difficult learning to cope with the instant fame that is often the result of such shows.

At first it was strange. You don’t change as a person but everyone else changes around you. It’s very strange to walk down the street and have people following you and trying to take your picture.

Your boy-next-door good looks have ensured that you have a loyal fan following and not just from girls…tell me more?

I was very proud to be featured on the front of a gay magazine. When I first went on to Any Dream Will Do, John Barrowman told me: ‘You haven’t made it until you have a gay fan base’, so to be the cover boy on such a magazine made me very happy.

Tell me what has been happening in your career lately?

I have just finished touring with Joe McElderry in the Saturday Night at the Movies tour and have also completed my brand new album Movie Nights. Right now, I’m enjoying being busy preparing for the forthcoming tour to promote the album.

What are your favourite tracks on the new album and why did you select them?

I love ‘So Close’ from Disney’s Enchanted. That song comes at such a lovely moment in the film and it’s such a beautiful song. It’s not the bestknown song from the movie, but I performed it on the Saturday Night at the Movies tour and everyone seemed to love it. It’s strange that people recognise the song but don’t know where from. I also really like the arrangement that my MD, Scott Morgan, came up with for ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’. Stevie Wonder’s original version has a happy, upbeat feel to it. I have chosen to perform it as a more melancholic ballad – it almost sounds as though it could be a sad lullaby. I think it’s nice to change the arrangement when performing a cover version, rather than just trying to replicate the original.

How do you feel you have matured, musically, in the past decade?

I’m partly the same performer as I was. However, I feel that my voice and, indeed, my performances are more structured and mature. People tell me that I’ve not lost any of the charm, fun and vibrancy of my younger years. I think I have just grown up, that’s all. I now think that I know myself inside out as a performer.

Does it make a lot of difference to be able to choose your own material now, rather than having songs and themes chosen for you?

It makes a massive difference. A lot of the stuff I performed in Any Dream Will Do, I would not have chosen for myself. That said, it taught me to experiment with different styles and to take chances and stretch my boundaries. It’s liberating not to have to pick songs with the sole intention of pleasing the public. That has pushed me on so far.

A selection of the possible songs for Keith’s tour (subject to change) follows:

A Thousand Years: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

Everything I Do (I Do It For You): Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Staying Alive: Saturday Night Fever

I Just Called To Say I Love You: The Woman In Red

So Close: Enchanted

You’ve Got A Friend In Me: Toy Story

She’s Like The Wind: Dirty Dancing

Kiss From A Rose: Batman Forever

Jailhouse Rock: Jailhouse Rock

Beauty and the Beast: Beauty and the Beast

Run To You: The Bodyguard

KEITH JACK – MOVIE NIGHTS, WILD CABARET GLASGOW 22 OCTOBER 2017

TICKETS – 0141 552 6165

For more information and to keep up to date with future projects, visit: Officialkeithjack.co.uk or @keithjack on Twitter.

INTERVIEW: Michael Palin talks about his up-coming solo tour

Why have you decided to embark on your first-ever solo stage tour?

Over the years I’ve done a lot of one-man shows, usually just for one evening either to raise money at a charity event or at a book festival. I’ve really quite enjoyed doing them. It’s a nice format and I like talking to a live audience, and with the diaries [Travelling To Work: Diaries 1988-1998] coming out in September I thought ‘What can we do that’s a little bit different to anything we’ve done before?’ Book publicity is a cutthroat business these days, with everyone trying to get their publicity to out-do someone else’s and all that. I thought ‘The thing I really enjoy is doing a show so rather than a one-night stand here and there let’s do a whole tour’. We’ve put 21 shows together and I can go right round the country and hopefully entertain audiences about the 25 years since we did Around The World In 80 Days. Also, I can talk about the diaries and put that period of the 90s into context and enjoy reminiscing with a live audience. It seems to concentrate the publicity for the diaries and the interest in them and it maximises what I could do to promote them and what I enjoy doing best of all.

The book is your third volume of diaries. Can you tell us a little bit about the content?

It covers ten years from 1988 to 1998 and it begins with my misgivings about having embarked on Around The World In 80 Days. I discovered some little private thoughts I’d written down – not the diaries I use for work or for writing the book – which seem to suggest I was deeply worried about what I’d taken on. We were going to be 80 days away from home, longer than I’d ever been away before, and there was no script. We were going to make it up as we went along and you get the feeling of someone not embarking on what he thought was going to be a legendary breakthrough in travel television but someone who was absolutely terrified. So the book starts there and it ends up, rather ironically, with the decision in 1998 not to do a Monty Python reunion for various reasons, all of which are there in the diaries. In between it’s really the meanderings of someone approaching their 50s – I pass that milestone in 1993 – who never really had a proper job and who was seizing all sorts of opportunities. My first novel [Hemingway’s Chair], for instance, was published in 1994 and in 1995 there was the first – and last – play I ever wrote for the West End [The Weekend]. In amongst all this is some interesting new work like a major acting role in 1991 in the Alan Bleasdale drama GBH and movies like American Friends and Fierce Creatures, John Cleese’s follow-up to A Fish Called Wanda. Then bringing the whole lot together, in an extraordinarily busy decade, were the travel programmes. Around The World In 80 Days turned out to be a great success and lead to two, much longer series in Pole To Pole and Full Circle. They’re the diaries of someone pretty much working flat-out with a sort of added urgency that they were getting on a bit and it was now time to do all the things he could possibly do as a freelance.

You’re still working flat-out now…

Well, yes, I know. That’s the thing – I’m trying to somehow maintain a balance between work and play but I find it very hard to say no.

You’re celebrating nearly 50 years in showbusiness. What are your fondest or most vivid memories?

It’ll be the 50th anniversary next year, yes, and honestly my fondest memory is of Edinburgh in August and September 1964. I appeared in an Oxford University Revue with Terry Jones and others. It was the first time I’d actually been on a stage night after night to perform comedy, some of which I’d written myself, and it was such a great thrill to do that. I realised I could make audiences laugh. These weren’t just friends from university, these were audiences that had come up for the international festival. What happened at the Edinburgh Festival with the Oxford Revue was for me quite life-changing because for the first time I thought ‘Hey, the acting and the humour and all the things I enjoy most in life could possibly make me a living’. My father disagreed profoundly but that was a very important moment for me. I suppose the other great moment was when I’d moved on from comedy into making travel programmes. Around The World In 80 Days did very well and I think the last episode got 12 million viewers. I then said ‘That’s it’ because it was a one-off idea, following Jules Verne, with a competitive element to it and all that. Then two years later because the viewing figures had been so good we thought we could do a follow-up but this time there was no Jules Verne story, we just had to do it ourselves as a way of travelling to places I’d never been before, meeting people and talking to the camera. It was called Pole To Pole and although I thought it was pretty good when I finished it I had no idea how an audience would react. Would they just say ‘Where’s the competition element? He’s just going around the world. He’s having a nice time wandering about’. But then the first audience figures came in and they were something like nine million and I thought ‘This is wonderful’. I’d made it on my own terms as more of a genuine geographical look-at-the-world programme and we still got a huge audience. There was a feeling of ‘Wow, there’s real potential here’. I then went on and made six more series.

You’re an ardent supporter of bookshops. Why do you feel they’re still so important?

Because I think books bring people together. Look at all the book groups there are now. It’s really nice to talk about a book to another human being directly. You can do it online and all that but it’s nice to come to an actual place where you can talk about books. Bookshops have that role within the community. People talk about ideas, their favourite work, ‘Have you got this? Have you got that?’ It’s all conducted with real human beings in a living space. Bookshops don’t have a God-given right to exist. They’ve got to be bright. They’ve got to have ways of selling the books. They’ve got to have a certain character that makes you want to go in, like giving you a nice cup of coffee. But they’re friendly places where you discuss ideas you’ve read in books and that’s really important – not just for the way we are and how we talk to each other, but it’s a very important part of a community to have a place where people come together for whatever reason.

How does writing compare to performing and TV presentation as a discipline?

It’s a lonelier thing. If you’re doing a television series or a television drama or you’re doing some sort of performance there are going to be others around you all the time. You’re like a team, but when you’re writing there’s going to be a certain point where you have to go off on your own and do it yourself. You’ve got to set your own limits and decide exactly how you’re going to do it. The difficult thing I find with writing is that it can go in any direction. I’m thinking of novels really, not the travel books – the travel books are rather different because it’s basically just recording notes I’ve taken. But with novels the book keeps changing and the options seem to be far greater. If you’re doing something on stage it’s: Bang! You’re in front of an audience and you’ve got to do it. With a book there’s more time to contemplate and reflect, which can sometimes be quite troubling and it can make you think ‘Oh dear, perhaps I shouldn’t have done it like this after all’.

What’s your routine when you’re writing?

I very much have a routine. I’m totally freelance and the one-man shows I’ve been doing I tend to call things like 40 Years Without A Proper Job. It’s true; I’ve never signed a contract for longer than the duration of one particular project so I have to keep making sure I know what I’m doing and what I’m planning to do, otherwise you get sidetracked into all sorts of distractions. I have to be very careful about how I apportion my time and I have to know roughly how long it might take to write something. So I am disciplined but I’m not one of those people who get up at five in the morning and work for six hours. I start work at nine and I finish around 5pm, and if you’re freelance you can put in the odd hour around that in order to get it right. Having a balance between work and play and work and family is very important and I try and keep that, and the only way you can do that is by making sure your work itself is ring-fenced – there’s the time you’re doing it and when you’ve finished, stop it, leave it, and go off and enjoy yourself.

How do you celebrate once a book is finished?

It’s a very odd thing but I’m never quite sure when a book is finished. I’m one of these people who always feel there’s something more you can do and there’s something you can improve right up to the end. Right through to the moment when the finished copy comes through the post and on to the desk I’m nervous. I’m probably nervous even at that point, but when the book’s there and you’re holding it in your hand – the finished object that people who buy your book are going to be holding in their hands too – that’s when I know it’s finished or at least I’m thinking ‘There’s nothing more I can do now’. I’ll still be looking through it gingerly and going ‘My god, page 247, I shouldn’t have said that! There’s nothing better than seeing the end product with a nice, bright, clean cover and all that. That’s when I’ll probably go off and celebrate and probably food and drink will be involved.

When you’re on the road what’s the one thing you couldn’t be without?

A notebook and pen, undoubtedly. I’d feel naked if I didn’t have my little black Alwych notebooks made in Glasgow which I’ve taken on all my travels and a pen with which to scribble things down. It has to be done longhand.

Do you get nervous before facing an audience?

I think you’ve got to be nervous before you step out on stage. If it felt like you were just going down to the shops or to see a movie or to buy some socks it wouldn’t be right. The engagement with the audience is not altogether natural. You’re going to be on stage and expecting 1,000 people to sit and listen to you for two hours. When I look at it like that I feel the nerves begin to tingle. Entertaining means that you’ve got to be on the mark, you’ve got to be on the ball. Even if you know people have come along because they want to see you – and that’s very nice – you’ve got to entertain them and make them feel comfortable. I always feel you’ve got to be on top of your game and you should treat each show as a separate show. There’s got to be something that’s fresh and new in every performance and that means you’ve got to feel the energy as you go out there and keep your own energy levels up. Being a little nervous is the price you pay for the price they pay.

You’ve got the Python reunion shows coming up. Do you know yet what formats those shows will take?

We have a script. We had a draft script at the end of last year and that’s been honed down a bit. The format is pretty much a bedrock of our classic sketches: The Lumberjack Song, Nudge Nudge, Argument Clinic and things like that which we know have worked on stage before. There are also a few extras like The Spanish Inquisition, which hasn’t been done on stage before. Woven around that there’s a big production with lights and dancers and songs, which won’t require us to participate because we’ll be off getting changed. I don’t know if I’ll be dancing myself. There may be movement in the lower limbs. We’ll take medical advice on that.

It what ways have you changed since the Python days?

The original spirit in which these sketches were written and the reaction we had to them when they were first written – which was that they were very funny – all comes back. We couldn’t have done these shows if we didn’t believe in the material and if we didn’t think we could make the material funny again. So I don’t feel as though I’ve changed much at all and that’s a bit of a problem because I’m 71 and you can’t quite do all the things you thought you could do. The real change over the years is that we’ve become famous. When we started the shows in 1969 and in fact all through three and a half series right up to 1973 we were not that well-known individually. Certainly there was very little talk about ‘the legendary Pythons’, ‘pushing back the barriers of comedy’ and all that sort of thing. All that has come much later and it makes you feel a little self-conscious. I think we have to try to, if you like, disregard all that stuff about what it all means and the heavy-duty PR and just enjoy ourselves because that is what it will make it work and that’s what people are coming to see. I’ve got to get back to my original Python, my inner Python.

Do you envision ever retiring?

No, I don’t think so. I always think ‘Retire from what?’ My life and work are sort of intricately interwoven. I work at home every day. It’s not a feeling like my father had when he was 65 of ‘Great, I don’t have to go to the office and to meetings any more’. I’ll work until I drop and possibly afterwards, you know? A travel series set in Heaven, perhaps!

You must also have a few more volumes of the diaries to get through?

I think this new volume will almost certainly be the last for a while. The material is there but it’s very important to have a gap, probably around 20 or 25 years, between what you’re describing and when the diaries come out. That way it’s less like a journalistic report and something more reflective, talking about a period that people are beginning to forget. There’ll certainly be a gap but I’m still keeping a diary so there are all these words piling up somewhere which my children or my estate will have to deal with after I’ve gone.

*Travelling To Work: Diaries 1988-1998 will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson on September 11th. The Travelling To Work tour visits Glasgow’s Theatre Royal on Fri 12th September info here: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/michael-palin-travelling-to-work/theatre-royal-glasgow/

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE: Lilly-Jane Young star of Peter Pan the Neverending Story

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Scottish performer Lilly-Jane Young (real name Jane Mary Sullivan) has made the headlines this week as her Peter Pan co-star Sandor Sturbl dramatically proposed to her mid-show in Glasgow (see below)

To celebrate the happy news here is an interview Lilly-Jane gave to Glasgow Theatre Blog last year.

We wish the two of them a life-time of happiness together.

Lilly is a star in Europe thanks to her leading role as Wendy in the critically acclaimed production Peter Pan The Never Ending Story.  Glasgow Theatre Blog had a chance to interview Lilly-Jane about her career and her triumphant return to Scotland.

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Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your training.

I was born in Glasgow and grew up in Cumbernauld. I was always a dreamer at school, living in my own little world! When I was fifteen, I was accepted on the Musical Theatre Course at the Dance School of Scotland and that was the beginning of my professional training. We did all our normal school subjects alongside singing, dancing and acting. It was heaven for me. From there I moved to London to further my studies at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. When I graduated in 2011, I signed with my agent and hoped to take my training into the real world.

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You are currently playing Wendy Darling in Peter Pan the Never Ending Story, how did you come to be involved in this international production?

I was in exactly the right place at the right time! I was playing Fleur de Lys in the Notre Dame de Paris Asia tour. Whilst we were performing in Seoul, the choreographer of the show came to watch us and audition dancers for his new project; Peter Pan the Never Ending Story. As soon as heard about the ideas for the show I knew that it was going to be something very special and I had to be a part of it. Before I knew it, I was back in Europe for the auditions in Antwerp and the rest all just fell into place. I wasn’t sure if they would even consider me for such a huge role given my lack of experience, but thankfully the creative team believed I could do it.

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Tell us all about this new arena production of Peter Pan, What can we expect?

I would say to expect the unexpected. Our show is really exciting and also full of new and innovative technology. It becomes more like a movie on stage. Wind turbines, 3D flying techniques, bungees, digital mapping to name but a few… Also, our music was written and arranged by Matt Dunkley who is a film writer. He has worked on massive blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge, The Black Swan, Love Actually and The Pirates of the Caribbean. The music alone is stunning!

Mix it with the energy from some of the most talented people in the world (we have 20 nationalities in the show) and you are really watching something special.

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The tour has travelled to Belgium and The Netherlands and will tour to France, Germany and Switzerland as well as the UK; what has it been like travelling around Europe, how has the show been received so far?

Travelling Europe is great fun. I love turning up in a new city and seeing what it has to offer. And living in hotels is great because you don’t have to cook! The show has been doing extremely well. The audience reception has been overwhelming. With this being a brand new show, of course you are terrified that people just wont think it is good. But up until now I have heard only that people love it.

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The show will be one of the first to be performed at Glasgow’s newest mega-venue The Hydro; are you excited about coming to Scotland to play in front of a home audience in this spectacular new arena?

All I can say about coming to the Hydro is that it is truly a dream come true and playing this show for a Scottish audience will definitely be the highlight of my life so far.

What do you miss about Scotland when you’re off touring the world?

Everything. I miss my family, my dog, tattie scones and being able to make a good cup of tea.

Are there any home comforts you take with you on the road?

To be honest, I always try to pack as light as I can because the worst part of my job is dragging a heavy suitcase around. But usually my mum will send me a little gift from home just to keep me smiling if I get home sick.

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Finally, tell us why we should all come and see Peter Pan the Never Ending Story?

Everyone should come to see the show because it is just a night of pure magic for children of all ages, and believe me, you have never seen anything like it before!

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Follow Lilly-Jane on Twitter @lillyjaneyoung

Peter Pan the Neverending Story continues to tour the UK.

INTERVIEW: 10 minutes with the stars of The Lion King – Ava Brennan and Nicholas Nkuna

Anticipation has been building throughout the country since the announcement in January that Disney’s legendary musical The Lion King would make its Scottish premiere at the Edinburgh Playhouse this autumn. The international cast of 52 performers from 18 different countries have arrived this week in Edinburgh with 23 trucks and to the news that over 210,000 tickets have been sold before the first performance. Glasgow Theatre Blog had a chance to meet the show’s stars Ava Brennan (Nala) and Nicholas Nkuna (Simba) and chat about being part of this global phenomenon.

How are you settling in to Edinburgh?

Ava: I’ve been doing a bit of exploring already, along Princes Street and just walking around and getting to know the city. I’ve got a list of places I want to go to: the castle and I’d love to do one of the city tours to see all the sights; I also really want to see Mary Stairs Close the haunted underground city.

How has Edinburgh compared to other cities you’ve performed in?

Nicholas: It’s been different in every city, every city brings its own energy to the show and the show has a lot of local references added for each place we go, they just love it, especially here. We couldn’t believe the reaction those parts got. When we walked out and heard the reaction from the 3000 people in the auditorium it was unbelievable.

Ava: The first preview was daunting, the theatre is so huge and the whole cast felt more nervous than we have done anywhere we’ve been.

Why do you think the Lion King has been such a long-running and well-loved show?

Nicholas: First of all for me, it’s the story, it’s universal and touches all ages. I think that’s what makes it so successful. It means I can take my little brothers, my mum and dad, it touches all age groups.

Ava: Coupled with the story is the show itself; the puppetry, the costumes and the amount of detail that’s gone into every aspect of the show, all the fabrics are African in origin and along with the wonderful actors, it all comes together to make it feel so real and authentic.

 What is your history with the Lion King?

Ava: I’m going into my fourth year with the company; I was in the Hamburg production and in the West End for two years and now on the tour.

Nicholas: This tour is my first experience in the Lion King and I’m going in to my second year now.

What is your favourite aspect of being in the show?

Nicholas: My favourite song is “He Lives in You” I think everyone relates to the song, It’s that time when you grow up and you realise that you have to face your responsibilities. Rafiki is knocking some sense into Simba and that’s the moment in the show when the light really goes on for him. I also love the whole experience of being on tour and having the chance to travel from city to city too.

Ava: I love the first act where we hear “They Live in You” and it’s Mufasa and Simba, I have a son myself and when Mufasa tells Simba he is never alone and that his ancestors are always watching over him, it gets me every time.

It’s such a huge company what is the atmosphere like backstage?

Ava: We really are like a family; we spend so much time with one another, eight shows a week and all the rehearsals, it’s made us quite close. It’s a really nice atmosphere where everyone is really looking out for one another.

Nicholas: We are blessed being out on tour together, firstly to get the chance to meet all of these amazing people from so many wonderful countries. There are five continents represented in this one production, so few people will ever get to experience all those diverse cultures.

Ava: The fact that we are from all over the world but have the privilege of telling this one fantastic story together is wonderful.

How do you keep it fresh when you are on a long tour, how do you keep up the energy and enthusiasm?

Ava: It’s the audience that keep us going as well as the people we are working with, of course it’s the same show every day but we never feel the same way every day. There are always different people to bounce off of each day and the audience may be different from what we’ve experienced before, so that keeps it fresh.

Nicholas: I always remember that each and every night there are people in the audience who are getting to see the show for the very first time. So I think of it as a premier every night, each and every single night the show has to be at its best.

Do you have any advice for any aspiring actors?

Ava: This industry is audition after audition and knock back after knock back, it happens to every performer, all I can say is keep going, if you want to go for it, if you want it to happen, it will, if you work hard enough for it.

Nicholas: This was my third attempt to get into the show, I had been turned down twice before and then on the third try I landed the principal role in the show. If you want it enough, go for it, there is nothing that should stop you. If you really believe in it then someone will see that in you and it will happen.

Disney’s The Lion King is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 18th January 2014.

INTERVIEW: Star of Ghost the Musical Stewart Clarke talks to Glasgow Theatre Blog

At just 22, Stewart Clarke has a CV that would be the envy of most actors, currently garnering rave reviews for his portrayal of the tragic hero Sam in the highly acclaimed national tour of Ghost the Musical, Glasgow Theatre Blog caught up with Stewart during the Edinburgh run of the show. 

Can you tell our readers a bit about your background and what or who inspired you to become an actor?

Both my parents are actors so it was perhaps inevitable that I would follow a similar path! I initially wasn’t too interested in the world of performing, rebelling in a typical teenage fashion but when I did eventually dip my toe in the water there was no looking back. My parents have and always will be so supportive of me, they are definitely my biggest inspiration.

How did you go about pursuing your career?

It just kind of happened! I knew I loved performing and would like nothing more than to follow a career in the arts but after four years at University, the prospect of continuing further studies at a drama school was going to be too expensive. It was only when my agent spotted me at a concert with the National Youth Music Theatre that it all become a reality.

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You have a wide range of roles on your CV – up until Sam, which has been your favourite?

Leo Frank in Parade will always hold a special place for me, simply because I adore the show. The true story it is based on is just unbelievably heart breaking, and Jason Robert Brown’s music only serves to heighten this. It was a fantastic acting challenge and one of those parts that really stays with you long after the curtain falls.

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You were involved with the short-lived but publicly loved Loserville – a lot of buzz was generated around the show, how did it feel being in it?

It was great fun! I only joined the show in the summer for it’s West End transfer but it was one of those shows where everyone was a similar sort of age and many of us were making our West End debuts together. It was a colorful, fun show that never took itself too seriously and as a result was a joy to perform. The fans of the show were so enthusiastic, you could really tell that it made an impact on them.

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The reactions to Ghost have been overwhelmingly positive, how are you enjoying the tour so far?

Loving it – it’s a draining role but so, so rewarding. Plus, the cast around me is fantastic too. I love working with Rebecca Trehearn playing Molly – she’s a dream, and David Roberts is a superb Carl. Wendy Mae Brown’s Oda Mae is a thing of comic beauty as well; it’s just such an honour to be performing with such talented people.

Stewart Clarke & Rebecca Trehearn 6 - Ghost The Musical - Photo Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Ghost has been said to be the most technically complex production ever to tour the UK; has that had an impact on the actors?

Surprisingly not! I think it’s because we have such a phenomenal stage crew behind the scenes who just ensure everything runs so smoothly that we never even notice the tech. But the audience definitely will notice it – some of the illusions and technical set pieces are jaw-dropping.

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You have big shoes to fill in this part; how did you go about making such an iconic role as Sam your own?

Well by not actually watching the film surprisingly enough! Still haven’t seen it and don’t plan to as the Sam I’m currently playing is purely my Sam. Obviously I’m aware of the Swayze legacy, but this is a different piece in a different medium and I want to reflect that.

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In such an emotionally draining show how do you unwind in your down time.

Been watching a lot of American TV on things like Netflix recently – there are so many quality shows being produced over there right now. Also a few of us try to hit the gym as regularly as possible, we’re very lucky here in Edinburgh to have a spa as well so the steam room/Jacuzzi certainly helps with the relaxing!

What advice would you give to anyone contemplating an acting career?

Make sure you seize every single opportunity you are handed. You never know who is going to be watching or what will come of it in the future. People talk about needing to be lucky to get into acting and that is certainly true, but you can make the odds fall in your favour if you are putting yourself out there as much as possible.

What career ambitions would you still like to fulfill?

I’m 22 and just starting out – I’d say there is still everything left to fulfill! I’ve been blessed so far and as long as I can keep performing then I’m going to be happy.

Finally, what three words best describe Stewart Clarke?

Still always learning!

For more information about Stewart visit http://www.stewartclarke.co.uk/

Follow Stewart on Twitter @StewClarke

GHOST runs at the King’s Theatre Glasgowfrom Tuesday 1st October until Saturday 19th October – tickets here

INTERVIEW: John McLarnon

Earlier this year Glasgow Theatre Blog had the chance to catch up with Scottish actor John McLarnon. At the time John was appearing in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End, this week he has just begun previews of The Commitments at The Palace Theatre and if the standing ovations from the audience are anything to go by then this talented performer has another hit on his hands.

As well as being an acclaimed musical theatre performer, John is also a talented singer-songwriter. Here is Glasgow Theatre Blog’s original interview with John.

Can I start by asking a bit about your road from small boy in Scotland to the West End? What first sparked your interest in performing?

It was actually in my 5th year of high school, the annual school show which that year was ‘South Pacific’ was desperately short on guys, my English teacher at the time, urged me to audition.  I was very hesitant as I had never done anything like it before and it wasn’t deemed very ‘cool’ at that age, but I decided to give it a go.  I was cast as the comedy lead and completely ‘caught the bug’ as they say.  From that I joined my local amateur drama club ‘Studio 32’ and it all started from there..

Tell us how you went from being interested in performing to actually training and pursuing a theatrical career.

I was studying an honours degree in Commercial Music at The University of the West Scotland during my days, but my nights were filled with rehearsing or performing, and I realised in my second year that I was getting much more out of theatre than my degree course.  After graduating from UWS I decided to travel and moved to Australia for a year, it was then I decided that I wanted to turn my hobby into a professional career (or at least give it a go).  Once I was back home I auditioned for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama’s MA musical theatre course, whilst auditioning for every amateur production I could in and around Glasgow to get as much experience as possible.  Before starting my training in the September I was involved in five separate productions at the same time, rehearsing every night of the week, but once I started training I had such a better understanding of the genre and what I wanted to get out of it.

Do you have any theatrical role models or is there anyone whose theatrical career you would like to emulate?

There are definitely loads of performers who I admire.  Musical theatre actors such as Raul Esparza, Hadley Fraser, Ramin Karimloo are all extremely inspiring as are Scottish actors who have made the successful jump from theatre to film, such as James Mcavoy & David Tennant.  These guys have careers to die for, but I think in order to work in this business and stay relevant you have to realise what ‘you’ have to offer and what makes you original as a performer.  I have learned so much with each job I have done from the actors and directors around me, and try to constantly better myself and challenge myself as a performer.

At RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire) you were involved in the highly successful New Musical Developments programme, where you helped create the critically acclaimed Wasted Love, tell me about that.

Essentially two very talented guys (The Kielty Brothers) brought a few songs to a group of about eight of us.  Under the direction of Andrew Panton we talked about all our relationship mishaps and funny love stories (which there were a lot of) and began constructing monologues out of them and matching up certain songs.  We presented a very rough draft at the end of the week in the RSAMD and we got an overwhelming response, so John & Gerry were sent away to write a full script specifically for us to perform at the Fringe.  They brought back a brilliantly funny script and score and we began putting our own little characters together and after about two weeks of rehearsal we took it to Edinburgh where it became a festival hit.  Since Edinburgh we have showcased the show at Òran Mór in Glasgow & The Actors Church in Covent Garden, and in Spring this year we start development on a 2 act version, which everyone is extremely excited about as we have all been there since day 1, its great to see something that was just a wee idea in a windowless room blossom into something that we are all extremely proud of.

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For more information check out www.wastedlovethemusical.com

You’ve appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe, first with RSAMD’s One Academy Productions, and last year with Clinton the Musical; tell us about your Fringe experience.

The Fringe is incredible.  It is hard to describe it, you just have to experience it.  Its manic, there is never enough dressing room space, everyone walks to their theatre pretty much dressed as their characters, which can be eye-opening, you take your bow then immediately start striking set and clearing out for the next performance, its pretty unique!  And there is always so much going on around you, new exciting things to see and also stuff you wish you hadn’t seen, but that’s all part of the beauty of it.  Although I would suggest doing a bit of a detox the month or so before starting your run, as I found out with Clinton last year, quick changes between shows mean that junk food becomes your staple diet, but you can justify it as its all part of the ‘experience’ or at least that’s what I did.

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You’re currently making your West End debut as Rebel Leader in We Will Rock You; tell us about the character and what it’s like joining the cast of such an established and well-loved show.

It’s a bit of a dream come true landing this role, as We Will Rock You was the very first show I saw in the West End almost 10 years ago now.  My Dad is also a massive Queen fan so I grew up listening to the music, so it has a big old place in my heart.  Admittedly as with starting any new job I was a little apprehensive, but the creative team were so supportive, encouraging and genuinely lovely during what was quite a long audition process, I knew that I would be made to feel right at home.  My character ‘Robbie Williams’ leads the band of rebels who live underground constantly searching for the ‘Dreamer’ who will resurrect Roll & Roll music in a future world where it is has been outlawed. He is definitely the self-appointed leader, and loves the sound of his own voice, at times he becomes almost like a petulant teenager desperate to be heard above everyone else, but he does mean well and redeems himself in the end.  He would essentially be one of those characters you see in movies who head up a war effort from a big comfy chair, smoking a pipe, whilst the others fight it out on the front-line .  He is such great fun to play and I also play him in my native accent which is an added bonus.

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How do you spend your days when you are in a long running role?

You have to try and keep busy a lot of the time and try and stay creative with other projects, which in turn help keep your performance fresh in the evenings.  Since starting the show, I have been writing a lot in my days and also getting out to see some matinees of different shows in London which is a welcome novelty.  Also because you work at night, all the glamorous household chores have to be done during the day (nobody likes to here that).  I’ve also joined a gym across from the theatre which I try to get to most days, having came off the back of a Fringe season straight to joining a cast full of impeccably fit dancers I felt a little out of shape (fat) so I thought I better take the plunge. 

You have already appeared in a range of vastly different musical theatre roles in: Sunday in the Park with George, Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, Wasted Love, Clinton the Musical and Jekyll and Hyde; what’s the moment in your career you’re most proud of?

Without sounding too clichéd, it was definitely walking out in We Will Rock You on the first night, to make my west-end debut with all my family watching, it was a completely packed house and the buzz on stage was like nothing I have ever experienced.  It was the culmination of a lot of hard work, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

You’re an accomplished singer-songwriter tell us about your own music and what your hopes are for it.

I had been writing music for years, but never seemed to be able to finish songs, but last year when I was in panto in Perth, I had a bit of free time here and there so I started writing and actually to my surprise…..finished some songs, and from there it kind of snowballed.  I have about an album worth of songs now, and I plan to start gigging properly in London with them in the spring time and hopefully record a little EP in the summer.  It’s a great creative outlet, and I find it very rewarding, I really just want to let people hear it now.

I have also started writing some music & lyrics for a brand new musical which should hopefully see the light of day next year sometime.

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Watch John perform Take Me Home at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xkXnS105LA

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and Sweetheart at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XjelCVHOJY

Is there any advice you’d give to a young aspiring performer in Scotland thinking of pursuing a career in the theatre?

Just keep throwing yourself into as many amateur productions as possible, there is a wealth of talent in Scotland and some brilliant work being produced.  It will tell you if you really do want to pursue a career in theatre, and if you do then you have to take the plunge and get some drama school auditions under your belt.  Be honest to yourself about your abilities and your casting and you will improve as a performer much quicker.  Probably the most important one is to never rest on your laurels, if you land a big job, its very easy to sit back and relax but you have to keep learning, be it singing lessons or dance class whatever, this industry moves so so quick and you always have to be one step ahead of the game.

Oh and finally if you are a guy with a strong Glaswegian accent don’t be offended when you constantly get auditions for the ‘baddie’ because it will happen trust me, but don’t worry those parts are the most fun to play!

Finally, if you could create your own production to star in, what would it be and who would you cast alongside you?

Ha ha that is an interesting question, I think it would have to be football related unfortunately, I used to play every week, but since starting in WWRY its too much of a risk in case I get injured and I miss it terribly, so a mix of the two would be perfect!  And casting wise, well I would probably just cast the full RSAMD musical theatre contingent down here in London as we are slowly taking over the city.

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The Commitments is currently showing at The Palace Theatre, London

Follow John on Twitter @JohnMcLarnon

For more information on The Commitments go to http://www.thecommitmentslondon.com/

INTERVIEW: Hannah Boyce, Scottish star of Dreamboats and Petticoats

With a starring role in the ever-popular Dreamboats and Petticoats straight out of drama school (she graduates this summer), Hannah Boyce is a star on the rise. Here she talks to Glasgow Theatre Blog about her journey from Scotland to the professional stage.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to become a performer?

I grew up just outside Glasgow in Milton of Campsie with my parents and Becky and Greg- my older brother and sister.  I did amdram with the Kirkintilloch Players and did lots of drawings and wrote silly stories!  At this time I wanted to write and illustrate kids’ books and I don’t think I understood that being an actress was a real job!  Then on Pancake Day, 11 years ago, my parents got tickets to see Cats in the Kings Theatre Glasgow and I loved it SO much!  I got the CD and the video and collected loads of memorabilia and that was the first musical I saw! After that we would go and see everything that toured close by and that’s when I realised that I wanted to be on the stage!

Tell us about your training.

My first formal training was at UK Theatre School, once I’d started to show a real interest in Theatre, which was such a great start for me as a young performer.  They managed to get the balance right between fun and actually teaching some pretty challenging stuff.  I was lucky enough to be taught by some really great people including Paul Christie and Chris Wilson who were very supportive and played a big part in my training at that time.  I also met some lovely friends there who I am still in touch with and can’t wait to see while I’m back in Scotland!  I then auditioned for the Preparatory Theatre Course at the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood Secondary School, gaining a place and starting proper full-time training.  I then progressed onto the Musical Theatre Course, where I was helped by the amazing staff with my auditions for drama school.  Four years of brilliant training meant that I was accepted onto the BA Musical Theatre Course at the Guildford School of Acting which had been my ultimate aim from the start of my training!  I trained there for three years and I’m technically still there I suppose- I graduate in August!  The training at GSA is exceptional and the way the course focusses on building up technical stamina to perform ‘8 shows a week’ has been the best preparation for this tour!  Whilst at GSA I was very fortunate to be part of a hugely talented and hilarious year group who have done so well already! Very proud.

You’ve just started the UK tour of Dreamboats and Petticoats- tell us a bit about your character, the rehearsals and how it’s all going so far?

I’m playing the character of Laura.  She’s a 15 year old, geeky girl who loves writing music and is completely in love with Bobby- fellow school swat, but doesn’t know how to tell him! The story’s main plot is about Bobby and Laura’s relationship and a song writing competition that they want to enter.  This part is so much fun to play.  She’s at that stage where she’s flooded with hormones and never really knows the right thing to say!  She’s so awkward and endearing, not your traditional leading lady!  We’ve just opened the show after twelve days of rehearsal! It was heads down and late nights but the cast is so lovely to work with and we managed to have fun and stay positive even under that high pressure situation.

Can you give us an insight into the show and why you think it is so popular with audiences?

The show is just completely harmless and funny! It is so accessible and fast paced with amazing pop songs that most people already know! I think it’s so popular because it’s a great night out that literally gets people dancing in the isles.  The characters are so real that they’re easy to relate to and the script is hilarious which makes it almost like a funny little sitcom as well!  I met a man the other night who had seen the show over 40 times and says he still enjoyed it as much this time round as the first!

Up until now what has been your favourite role to play?

My favourite role to play was in GSA’s production of Sweet Charity where I was ensemble but was given the amazing opportunity of being Dance Captain.  It was all original choreography, so I did lots of work shopping with the choreographer, Stuart Winter, to come up with some really special stuff! It was such a challenge and I will always remember it!

Are there any roles you would like to play or shows you would like to be part of in the future?

I would love to do all sorts of things! Working professionally in theatre at all is amazing.  The statistics are absolutely against us!  I would be so happy doing anything, but there are some shows that I have my eye on while I can still get away with looking really young! I would love to do Mamma Mia- I went to see it with my family and it’s the only show that my Dad has given a standing ovation to! Says it all really! The big West End shows like Wicked and Les Miserables are obvious choices and dream shows for every performer, but Nessa Rose in Wicked is a lovely part! Also, it’s always been a big ambition of mine to originate a role.  That would be a massive deal!

There are many people out there contemplating a career in acting- what advice would you give to them?

I think everyone approaches this strange career differently but I can tell you what worked for me!  I think getting a good training is very important! Auditioning for drama school is really stressful and can be off-putting.  Most people don’t get offered a place first time but I think it’s so important to persevere to give yourself the best start! With training, don’t read too much into things! Pick and choose the things you are taught that work for you! Not everything will, and it’s just as important to discover the things that don’t work, because then you can come up with your own unique strategy that gets the best out of you.  Take criticism and act on it.  Have at least one part of your life that isn’t to do with theatre or acting, whether it’s a part time job or a hobby, it’s very useful to have an escape from it all when it gets a bit intense.  Learn an instrument! That’s what’s in demand- you’ll thank me when it comes to auditions!!

If you hadn’t become an actor what do you think you’d be doing now?

Well I wanted to do all sorts of things growing up! But I think I would be doing something in art.  Which is just as tricky as acting! I never choose the easy option!

Which performers inspire you?

There are so many people who inspire me from all sorts of productions and films I’ve seen! When I see an actor who listens and when you believe everything they say, that’s what does it for me.  Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries was a huge inspiration to me growing up, and I still think she’s an amazing actress and such a beautiful woman! She seems happy and healthy too, which is lovely to see when there are so many actors who get overwhelmed and fall apart.  She’s a great role model, I think.

What can we expect next from Hannah Boyce?

Oh God, I have no idea!! This is my first job and who knows when the next one will come along!  Until then I’ll hopefully be doing lots of auditions and hope to get back to teaching, which I’m missing already! I would love to try and settle in London and have an address again! But although it’s scary flying constantly by the seat of your pants, it’s also exciting never knowing what’s next! It’s not the most stable of career choices, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

DREAMBOATS and PETTICOATS visits Edinburgh and Glasgow this summer:

8 – 13 Jul 2013
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh
Click here to Book Tickets or call the Box Office 0844 871 3014.

19 – 24 Aug 2013
Kings Theatre, Glasgow
Click here to Book Tickets or call the Box Office 0844 871 7648.

Read more at http://www.dreamboatsandpetticoats.com/the-musical/#zUXsx1yRw06eJGl7.99

Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahKateBoyce

On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hannah.boyce.7

INTERVIEW: Sophie Bould – Bringing some High Society to Glasgow

In the last few years Sophie Bould has been steadily gaining a reputation as one of the most gifted stage actresses in the country. From her West End debut in the original Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Sound of Music, to her recent role as Lily in The Secret Garden, Sophie has been winning lead roles and rave reviews. This week Sophie comes to Scotland in High Society at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre alongside Michael Praed and Daniel Boys. Glasgow Theatre Blog had a chance to chat to Sophie about this much loved show.

You’ve just embarked on an extensive UK tour; how does it feel to be out on the road for such a prolonged period of time?

I’m pretty excited actually as I’ll be visiting a lot of cities I’ve never been to before. I’ve been on a national tour before with the Michael Frayn play Noises Off which visited Glasgow, but this time because it’s six months I’ll be seeing a lot more of the country. I do miss home though.

Do you take any home comforts with you on tour to make things a bit easier?

I always take a few bits and pieces, I have lots of photographs with me: some wedding ones to pin to my pin board and ones of my little nephews, oh and the odd scented candle, just a few little creature comforts to remind me of home.

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High Society is such a well-loved story, why do you think it still has such appeal after all this time?

I think it can resonate with anyone, anyone of any age or any walk of life. At the heart of it it’s about love and finding the person you truly love, I think will resonate with anyone who comes to see it. In this production in particular we have some wonderful people in the roles. Michael Praed (Dexter Haven) and Daniel Boys (Mike Connor) are wonderful, the boys are beautiful and I love them, so I’m just grateful to be playing opposite such lovely and talented men.

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Michael Praed
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Daniel Boys

You’re following in the footsteps of Grace Kelly in the movie musical and Katharine Hepburn in the original Philadelphia Story; what have you done to make the character of Tracy Lord your own?

As you say they are quite large shoes to fill in that sense and I am quite wary of that. I haven’t watched the Grace Kelly movie since I was a child and when I found out I had the part I deliberately chose not to watch it in case I inadvertently picked up any of her mannerisms. I wanted to create Tracy Lord for myself in the rehearsal room with the director and the rest of the cast I’m playing opposite. We’ve talked a lot about the Philadelphia Story and I personally have done a lot of research on that and where the character of Tracy Lord actually came from. Philip Barry who wrote the original play, based the character on Philadelphia socialite Helen Hope Montgomery Scott and I researched her. It’s really interesting to base a character on a real life human being and make my own choices how to play her.

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The choreography for the tour has been created by the award-winning Andrew Wright, he’s  known for his innovative and often intricate work, are you a natural dancer or have you had to work hard at it?

Well I trained as a dancer years ago so it was in me somewhere and even though I haven’t done it in a while it was lovely to put the tap shoes back on.  Andrew is such a genius, he is such a talented man and a lovely one too, it really was an honour to work with him especially after just winning his award for Singin’ in the Rain. Yes, the choreography is tricky and its intricate but its not impossible, and as my mum always says practice makes perfect – I just watched repeated and thankfully by the end of rehearsals I’d got it. The ensemble are wonderful, they really carry all the amazing dance routines.

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Do you have any favourite songs or scenes from the show?

There are so many I don’t think I could choose. There’s a wonderful scene at the beginning of act two which starts with Let’s Misbehave and goes into Well Did You Evah and its such a big, feel good, group number. I love the really meaty scenes in this though, the script is wonderful, Arthur Kopit who wrote it worked really closely with us, altering the script as we went along, it is an absolute honour to have him on board. All the scenes with Tracy and Dexter and the scenes with Tracy’s father who is played by Craig Pinder I love.

Finally, do you have any plans for when the tour finishes apart from putting your feet up?

Definitely putting my feet up! But at the moment no plans. I guess auditioning will start again relatively soon. I will probably be going back into auditions in the next couple of months.

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High Society opens Tuesday 5th March and runs until Saturday 9th March at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh and visits Glasgow from Tuesday 30th April until Saturday 4th May.

For more information about the show and booking details: http://www.highsocietymusical.com/

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiebould

All production photographs copyright Pamela Raith 2013 – http://pamelaraith.com/ 

INTERVIEW: Rock of Ages’ Sandy Moffat talks to Glasgow Theatre Blog

Can I start by asking a bit about your road from Scotland to the West End, tell us about your background and what inspired you to become an actor?

I feel like my journey to the West End was a series of very fortunate events. I started acting at an amateur level when I was about 17 but didn’t consider it seriously as a career. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Aberdeen University for a year before deciding a life behind a desk wasn’t for me. I spent about a year gigging and doing bits and pieces before I auditioned for London Studio Centre (I’m still amazed that I got in as my talent was raw to say the least!). After a few years of training I was lucky enough to get a job as swing in We Will Rock You.

Who are your theatrical heroes?

I think my theatrical heroes would be Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown. I’m a huge fan of the complexity and intelligence in their compositions.

You have a very varied CV what have been the highlights up to now?

I’ve been very lucky so far in my career, I had a lot of great opportunities whilst performing in We Will Rock You. I sang at the Olympic handover ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace and performed with Queen on their world stadium tour. I also think performing “School’s out” with Alice Cooper at Rock of Ages was pretty cool!

I see you’ve done a bit of work in Germany, did that help you when preparing to play Franz!

I lived and worked in Cologne for 18 months and loved every second of it! I’ve got a real soft spot for Germany and if the right role came up I wouldn’t hesitate to return. I think it did help with my preparations for Franz, I’ve spent lots of time surrounded by Germans speaking English so I’m pretty good at impersonating the accent.

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The cast of Rock of Ages

Tell us about Franz in Rock of Ages – he’s certainly an unforgettable character – is he as much fun to play as he is to watch?

He is great fun to play! The problem is that he has so much energy, it gets tough to keep up sometimes. I’m very lucky that he’s such a funny character and the audience warms to him every night. I have some great lines and the show certainly never gets boring for me.

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Sandy (far left) in one of his eye-catching costumes as Franz

You are starring in eight shows a week, in a long running show how do you keep your performance fresh every night?

It’s the toughest part of my job. I think it’s important to re-invent the character from time to time and make sure that you always try new things, sometimes they won’t work but that’s how I find new things. I’m very lucky that I work with such great actors who are constantly throwing new things at me which makes it easy for me to keep what I do fresh. If it’s fresh for me then hopefully it’s fresh for the audience.

How do you unwind during your time away from the show?

I ride my motorcycle as much as possible! I love riding the bike into the country with my tent on the back and spending a few days living outside, I like to get away from London and relax. I also play the guitar and I enjoy watching films and on a Sunday I can be found sitting in the pub with a roast dinner.

A lot of actors are talented musicians, you say on your Twitter profile that you’re a rock star wannabe – are you making any plans to pursue that?

I’m 30 so I think I’ve missed the rock star boat, but I do really enjoy playing the guitar and I’d like to get out and do more singing and playing.

What music particularly inspires you?

I love Rock music which is why Rock of Ages is kind of my perfect job. When I got the audition I remember digging out all the songs I’ve always wanted to sing for auditions but were never suitable for musical theatre, I ended up singing Bon Jovi’s “In these Arms”.

What career aspirations do you have?

It sounds like a cliche but my main aim is to be happy in my work and I don’t really mind what I’m doing, as long as I can make a living of course! I’d like to try TV and film acting but for now I’m very happy doing musicals.

What can we expect next from Sandy Moffat?

Who knows?! My current contract at Rock Of Ages ends in September and it’s too soon to be making plans. The life of an actor is an unpredictable one so your guess is as good as mine.

Finally, how would you describe yourself in three words?

Immature through choice 😉

Follow Sandy on Twitter @sandy_moffat

For information and booking details for Rock of Ages visit http://www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk/

INTERVIEW: Sabrina Carter

Scottish actress Sabrina Carter is currently travelling the globe on the international tour of the smash hit One Man Two Guv’nors. Glasgow Theatre Blog managed to catch up with Sabrina from Sydney to find out about her journey from Scotland to the international stage. 

Can we go back to your beginnings – tell us about your background and what first sparked your interest in theatre?

I came to theatre quite late. It all started properly when I was 16 and my friend wanted someone to go with her to an audition for a show called Once on this Island for Durham Youth Music Theatre. I went along reluctantly, and ended up getting the lead part of Timoune. After that I played many roles including Mary Magdelene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ and Florence in Chess. After this I started to listen to more and more shows and found a great love of theatre.

When did you decide to seriously pursue a theatrical career?

I was about 17 and was looking at university courses to study psychology, and literally two days before I was due to hand in my UCAS forms I decided to change it to study acting at a university. I knew I wanted to do a 3 year course with dissertation at the end, so I applied to many any decided upon Northumbria University at Newcastle.

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Sabrina with Marti Pellow in Jekyll andHyde

You’ve  recently been appearing in One Man Two Guv’nors: what is it like being involved in such a universally lauded production?

It’s fantastic! What an honour to be part of a piece that has such acclaim and lucky to be working for one of the best theatre companies in the world, The National Theatre is something that I’ve dreamed of all my life.

You’ve had a diverse range of roles in your career, which is the role you are most proud of?

That’s a hard question as I try not to take jobs or audition for shows that I’m not going to learn from. I think I’m most proud of The 39 Steps. Most of work up until this point in London had been musicals so to make the leap to plays can be very difficult. I managed it and feel so proud of the people I worked with but more importantly to get to play Pamela, Margaret, and Annabella , three very different roles.

You have played the coveted role of Elphaba in Wicked; tell us about your experience in the show.

Elphaba is undoubtedly one of the hardest female roles to play, not just the level of singing required but the roller coaster of emotions she goes through is massive! I still hold a massive place in my heart for her and of course my ensemble role of Pfanee. I made some amazing friends on that show and worked with some of the best creatives in the world.

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Sabrina as Elphaba

My 1st performance of ‘Elphie’ was mid-show on a Saturday matinee. Alexia was literally being sick in the wings, which I was completely unaware of at the time, and I was doing the ‘Oz Dust ballroom’. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the stage management team stood side of stage, all looking at me and talking to each other. At the end of the dance I ran off to change when I was stopped, whilst the stage manager was chatting into her headset . Then it was like GO, GO, GO!!! A team of about four people hurried me downstairs to the wardrobe village ( undressing me as I was running) . I had sound teams changing my microphones, people changing my tights , people painting me green , it was manic! All the while I was trying to make sure my voice was ready for the marathon ahead. Approximately 8 minutes later I was dressed, micked and stood up stage right to enter with Dianne for ‘Emerald City’ … Then came the dreaded but thrilling ‘Defying Gravity’ …One of the most special and defining moments of my life. The highlight of the whole show was sharing it with the stunning Dianne Pilkington.

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Jennifer Tierney, Sabrina Carter as Pfanee and Dianne Pilkington as Glinda

What advice would you give to someone sitting back at home in Scotland considering training as an actor?

If you need to ask yourself if it’s the right profession, Then it’s not the right business for you! DO IT! Train well, and immerse yourself into every piece of theatre/performance you can. I trained at the Royal Conservatoire previously known as RSAMD. The skills I learned were invaluable.

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Sabrina as Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver!

What’s the best advice that you have received?

“Don’t forget people on the way up, as you’ll see them on the way down”

Tell us what you have been up to recently and what you’ve got planned for 2013 and beyond.

As I write this I’m in Sydney working on the international leg of  One Man, Two Guv’nors, this finishes end of June , then who knows were the wind will take me . I do miss singing so maybe a wee return to musicals – basically whoever will have me!

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Jeckyll and Hyde

A few quick questions…

What’s your favourite play/musical of all time?

Musical – Evita and Wicked (sorry that’s cringe!)
Play – Blithe Spirit

Who most inspires you?

Hard working non stagey actors

Your dream role?

It depends, in a musical – Eva Peron. I’ve just read Magdelena Alberto will be playing opposite my Mr Jekyll, Marti Pellow. She is fabulous, so I’ll look forward to seeing her in the role.

Play – Lady Macbeth

Favourite non-theatrical hobby?

Shopping ha ha (does that count?)

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Finally, describe yourself to us in three words!

Feisty, hardworking, loyal.

Follow Sabrina on Twitter @sabrinacarter29

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