Posted in Acting, Musical Theatre

From Crunchem to Shiz… 

I’ve been an Actress (mainly in musical theatre) for the past 14 years. I graduated college in 2002 (gulp) and since then I have been fortunate enough to have worked in the industry doing what I love. However, there have been times, many times, when it has been so hard to keep going. As after most theatre contracts, you have to start again, back to square one auditioning for other shows, adverts, plays etc. But you still have to pay your rent, of course, so you get a job that’s flexible enough to allow you time off for auditions and castings. There are also the singing lessons, dance classes, train fares to factor into your budget and so you get another job to tied you over …and the juggling act begins.

Mack and Mabel, Chichester Festival Theatre.

Living in London is expensive but also wonderful. I have met so many friends along the way both when I have been “in work” as an Actress or “out of work” as an usher, waitress, bar maid, receptionist, butcher, baker and candle stick maker. Friends and family are the most important part of my life, they are my rocks and my constant inspiration. I’m sure in most industries when people are pursuing a “passion job’ as I like to call it, we all experience highs and lows a lot and it’s our friends and family that support us. To them I am forever grateful.

The Shaw Family. Mum- Tracy, Dad- Carleton and Brother- Daniel
I call it a “passion job” because unless you are passionate about Acting (in my experience) you just wouldn’t put yourself through it. For example once I was auditioning for a role and I was also working three part time jobs at the time to keep myself afloat. I was recalled nine times for this role, (imagine going for nine interviews for the one job) and I was eventually given the dreaded “No”…. it’s difficult, it really is. I like to think of myself as a pretty positive person, but sometimes it’s ok to admit you are gutted!

Bella the French Bull Dog

Each time this happens you literally dust yourself off and try again. Having said that, I have a lot of friends that are hugely talented and successful but have come to a decision that the lifestyle of living from job to job doesn’t suit them anymore and that they would like to try their hand at something else.

Recently, the last year or so, I have been teaching at my clever best friends dance school that she co-owns with her sister. I can honestly say that I get the same buzz out of teaching these hilarious children as I do when I perform. Watching them work, their imaginations and creativity is pure sunshine to be around. I found this such a positive revelation because for a long time I didn’t think there would be anything else to rival performing. It’s nice to know.

For the most part of my career so far, I have understudied. Mary Poppins, Belle (Beauty & The Beast) Miss Honey (Matilda) to name a few, and I loved playing each one of these characters as well as my own part in the show. I have found it exciting and I’ve learned a lot from covering. But of course I have always wanted to play a role of my own, I’ve had a few near misses and it’s never quite happened for me…so far. That’s not to say that I am not grateful for the opportunities I have been given, I am SO grateful.

Matilda 2012 “The Acrobat and the Escapologist”

So, I cannot express how unbelievably excited I am for my new venture, it’s not every day you get offered your dream job, or your dream role. I am so thankful to the casting team for giving me the opportunity … finally I am a witch and I cannot wait!