My experience on the West End Stage
On Sunday 3rd November 2019, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to perform in Her Majesties Theatre, in Trouble’s A Brewin’. This is a western musical all about a small town called Alberquirky, which is celebrating its 11th year anniversary; where the town folks are enjoying life until a group of Bandits called Billy the Girl and the not so magnificent three. Meanwhile, the local saloon owner is planning on selling up and moving out of town with his daughter, who doesn’t want to go, and gets offered 50 big ones from the buyer. New people come into town a family called the Waltons and the Justine Beaver and her backing singers, both have four people in it and the town has to work out who it is. Chaos ensues as the Sheriff (who I played) tries to work out which one of the new people in town have come to rob from them of the 50 big ones. Then it ends up that the town bully is the one to work out the bandits; the Waltons. The bandits get arrested, and the town bully becomes the new Sheriff.
I played Sheriff Trifle, and I got the lucky opportunity to open up the show and open up after the interval with a monologue. Sheriff Trifle is the person in charge of Alberquirky and is the first female Sheriff, and so she has to state her place. She is strong-willed and doesn’t take anything from anyone and shows that she will stick up for people who are fighting injustice and protect the town that she loves from people trying to hurt them. She does this by fighting the bandits off with Sandra (town bully) with banning anyone leaving to catch the bandits, either the Waltons or Justine Beaver.
We started auditions and rehearsals in February 2019, where we did workshops to understand the characters, with this I learned a lot of self-confidence and how to go about getting a part and once you have it, how you interpret your character to make it unique to you. With two other girls playing your role at the same time in their respective scenes, you have to understand your character in their mind and work out their past and present and work out the future and where you are heading. We did so many activities such as hot seating, wake up, and many others to see what your character is thinking. After we understood our characters, we started rehearsals and ran scenes and dances over and over again to make sure we had everything down to perfection, so we looked good on stage. We had a dining coach come in one week to work the soloists and the ensemble work on perfecting the notes, so then it came naturally for the performance, and we could focus more on the dancing. During, the run-up to the show we had producers run where we had a PQA west end producer come in to evaluate on what we needed to perfect and look out for when we got to Her Majesties Theatre. We then did dress rehearsals and even with problems from most people; like costume malfunction, or lines or dances being forgotten, we got through it and came out better for it. During the rehearsals, learned patience, teamwork and resilience, as we work on scenes and working with a large company with such an extensive age range, with it ageing from 5–17.
We arrived at Her Majesties Theatre at 10:45, and we are waiting to go into the stage door, as we do we start singing outside the theatre, this helps us with the confidence to perform on the streets of London which meant that for most of us, that we could act on the stage. We then get into the theatre, and we got the basement dressing rooms, in these dressing rooms, were for the ensemble and were the ballet dancers of the Phantom of the Opera. The dressing rooms were full of light-up mirrors and peoples ballet shoes; then there were peoples makeup and costumes and peoples pictures of the show. Then, we got our costumes and wigs and had a quick turn around to change them; we got a chance to wear professional costumes. Then we got backstage and got our microphones on which was fantastic as we had the real west end ones. This was amazing as we got to act as if we were in a real theatre. We got a chance to tour around the theatre as see the stage we are performing on, and we got to sit in the auditorium. We then got all the talk about how the theatre works; this was great as you learn how a real theatre works and their terminology.
We then went on stage to perform our first scene which included going to look around backstage, while looking around we saw the sets for Phantom of the Opera such as the models of people and the hanging ropes. We rehearsed it, and it went good and had to change and adapt to the stage. This then meant that we went back to our dressing room to sort out outfits, hair and makeup. We then went over lines and dances in the dressing rooms, and went back to the stage to perform the next scene, then talking to the crew running the show, I found out that to work in this business you have to be dedicated and ready to perform like it is the last time you can perform. This industry is so hard to get in, and you have to be fully committed, and by doing this performance in the west end, this made me realise that this is the career I want to take. Then we had to rehearse the bows, and then I got to talk to the stage manager and the microphones people, and they showed me about how they run the theatre on a day to day basis and what makes these musicals so successful and why people keep coming to watch it. We then went back to our dressing room and took photos to go over last-minute ideas and warm-ups to make sure we are warmed up for the performance, vocally and physically.
We then start the production, the production went amazing with no hiccups and got lots of professional photos from the PQA academy, and doing this academy after the months of work we did extraordinarily. I am so proud of what I did and what I achieved in this performance. This has helped me to grow in confidence and make me realise that my dream career is what I am going to do. Trouble’s A Brewin was an incredible experience, and now I am better for it.
Now we have the understudy performance on Saturday 16th November 2019, and with my understudy away that week I get another opportunity to perform it again and having the performance with a new cast it is going to be unique to show it again.
This experience was the best experience of my life as I got to learn about the theatre and how people do this. This has been months of rehearsals and was worth every minute and got to work with the incredible cast and crew and so glad that I got to do it with them.