Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in retrospect

So it's the last day of 2014 and as everyone does, I'm looking back. And it's actually been the best year I can remember for a while. I know not everyone can say the same - I have some friends who have had a truly dreadful year. But for me 2014 was a good one. A dream came true - Cosi Fan Tutte in the West End - I met a hero - Armistead Maupin. My boys are getting older - Toby in the Juniors now - and easier. I had three amazing holidays. I made some new friends and appreciated some old ones. So I'm feeling positive going into next year. No idea what it will hold.

We never celebrate New Years - even before children it was rare for us to go out and party. Tonight I imagine will be a quiet one. But I'm thankful for the year I've had. Even though I rarely blog, I had to write this post and look back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Crazi Fan Tutte!

So my dream came true last Friday -made my west end debut in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Coliseum. It was a magical wonderful night - made all the more specialby my lovely sis and sis-in-law sending me the BIGGEST bouquet imaginable. I saw it by the stage door and assumed it was for one of the principals and then squealed with excitement when I saw it was for me!
Reviews have been mixed - I think we're like Marmite - you either love it or if you're an opera purist you hate it....

So if you're in London and at a loose end - there are 11 shows left....

Sunday, April 20, 2014 actor post for the first time in ages....

I got a job! Woo hoo! I'm two weeks in but am taking the opportunity the Easter weekend is giving me (ie I am not exhausted) to update my blog!

I'm working with Improbable Theatre in collaboration with English National Opera. Phelim McDermott, the director, has directed operas before and gets a skills ensemble involved - actors and performers - to help construct the world of the opera.

We're doing Cosi Fan Tutte -a classic Mozart comedy - and it's set in Coney Island in the 50's - and the skills ensemble are the carnys. We're an interesting combo as you can see!
The majority come from cabaret and circus - we have a contortionist, a fire eater, a cabaret freakshow all-rounder (piercings, blockhead, fire, glass walking etc), a strongman, a sword swallower, a giant, two little people, a fusion bellydancer, an actrobat and then ME! And one other actor who specialises in physical theatre and has worked with Phelm before.

It took me a while to find out why the hell I was there - I couldn't do any stunts or tricks....(I'm the fat lady and the bearded lady btw)....but in the second week it became very clear - this style of devised performance is what I trained in. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be so physical and creative.

Working with the singers is awesome - I'm blown away by their talent - not only do they have to remember the lines, sing in tune (and Mozart has a LOT of notes) but they also have to act. It's mindblowing. They're also really lovely to work with - we feel like a company rather than us and them.

You can read more about it here  - Dan Ayling our AD is writing a blog. And Phelim is interviewed about it here.

It's always been my dream to perform in the West End and it's coming true. We open at the Coliseum on 16th May. It's such a beautiful theatre - the shining ball on top is something so familiar.
 And it's definitely the biggest gig I've ever played! 2,359 seats! Argh! This is the view from the stage!

I'll try and post more when I have time. I'm just so utterly thankful to be working again and working on such an amazing production - totally different to anything I've done before.....

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Yet again my resolution for doing a photo a day seems to have fallen by the wayside. Hey ho. My life is chaos it doesn't surprise me.

BUT I have news! Exciting happy clappy news. I've been trying really hard to kickstart my acting career recently - be a bit more proactive. I paid for IMDB pro so now if you look at my imdb page here, you can see my photo. I've done a lot of workshops with The Actors Guild. And I went and saw my lovely agent about why I wasn't getting auditions...and lo and behold 2 days later I'm auditioning.

I met Phelim McDermott whose work I've admired since I saw Shockheaded Peter back in 2002 on the West End. He runs Improbable Theatre Company. And he's directing Cosi Fan Tutte for the English National Opera. I met him last Wednesday - it was a strange audition. This was the brief
We are looking for performers to join our Skills Ensemble for the production. Basically, this is a group of actors and performers who will form an integral part of the production: establishing the world of the opera and facilitating changes of scenery (i.e. moving set/props around), as well as performing routines.
Phelim and set designer Tom Pye have chosen to set the opera in the 1940s Coney Island world of Carnivalesque, Freak Shows and Circus. So, we are looking to people this world with incredible performers of all sizes, shapes and skills. 

It was an utter pleasure just to sit with Phelim who showed me the set design and talked about his ideas. But I just had to be me. And I admitted I couldn't really "do" any freaky tricks - he mentioned they'd seen a lot of glass eaters that day plus a sword swallower - but I talked about work I'd done, devising experience, artists we both knew etc. 

And I got the job! So I must have done something right! So as of next Monday, I'm in rehearsal. And we open on the 16th May. Tickets are insanely expensive and details are here. I'm not sure exactly WHAT I'll be doing in the production - but I'm sure it's going to be amazing. I'll blog when I can about it. It was a mad rush to arrange childcare but I managed it - the universe seemed to be smiling on me as a mum who has SEN kids herself suddenly had a vacancy at exactly the right time. Thank you Karma....

One of the best bits? I get to be on the West End. And go through a Stage Door to work - one of my dreams since I was a little girl. And yesterday I got to go through it for the first time for a wardrobe meeting.....and my heart fluttered. I feel like an ACTOR again goddammit! I've never worked on a stage show this big before. With a live orchestra...and opera's going to be amazing.