“So here is my first ever blog, and I feel slightly nervous writing this. It doesn’t feel like opening night/ “first preview” nerves, not even like pre audition nerves but nerves awaiting from an unfamiliar territory. Will people even read this? Will anyone like it? Do I sound like myself? This is all very new so please be patient (and kind!) It worse than awaiting a published theatre review!
So I’m Nia, an actress and professional “pretender.” I’m currently on touring with ‘That show, you know the one with the flying car” and on the side (and because I love Theatre, Pantomime and my home town Swansea and South Wales) I run this small production company with my sibling Mark.
I’ve never really been that good at “just being Nia.” Due to my job of always being able to hide behind a character, put on (or literally paint on) a face and change my clothes to appear and pretend to be somebody I’m clearly not. I find it a real challenge to present just me ,myself and I to a large group and have realised that to an audience of say 3-4 persons or more…. I’m not actually very good at exposing ‘me.’ Does anyone else find this? Even in our day to day lives, we all have different ‘roles’ that we regularly play? And switch our thoughts, approach and behaviour to appear as ‘the best friend’ / ‘mother’ / ‘employee’ / ‘wife’ etc.
So here goes with the news on my week… (please bear with anything cringey!)
This week on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (yes my actual real job – and not this attempt at producing marlarkey!) We had 3 new cast members join our touring production in Milton Keynes in the form of Carrie Hope Fletcher, Shaun Williamson and Lee Mead (yes my Mum voted for him so she’s thrilled that he will still be on the tour when the show arrives at Cardiff Millenium Centre this August.) It has been a hectic week putting the new cast members into the show, with a limited time for them to learn all the lines, songs and choreography and I’m always amazed at how quick actors can adapt to a new production and role, thrust into a group of people who have already been working so closely together for a number of months.
I was given this challenge on a production of Singin in the Rain in 2008, joining a tour 4 months in to replace a female ensemble member after an injury. I don’t think I had a proper conversation with any of the Company until 2 weeks into shows where I finally could lose the “rabbit in head lights (well stage lights) from my worried face incase I made mistakes in the dance routines or made a wrong costume change!
Due to the amount of extra time in the theatre this week rehearsing for Chitty, outside of the theatre has been equally manic creating JP Office wherever I can find the time, phone signal and wifi! This week saw us hold a casting session for our 2016 Pantomime season held at The Umbrella Rooms, (a gorgeous studio and rehearsal space ran by actors Simon Lipkin and Nathan Amzi (I’m so proud and supportive of all actors getting something going on the side line!) We were inundated by the reponse of our Pantomime Spotlight breakdown and I learnt so much from the day’s casting session about life “ on the other side of the audition panel.” It was a big eye opener of what you impression you can instantly give! It was brilliant to have our Chitty Musical Director Andrew Hilton help out on our panel and play for the auditionees. He is so kind and his advice is always so helpful! It was an absolute pleasure to meet so many fellow performers at the auditions and I can’t wait to reveal to you our 2016 Pantomime Cast!
Thanks for reading, I’m off to Nottingham with the show next week and can’t wait to catch up with the cast of The Last Tango, which I’m really excited to see, as well as focusing on the next stage of our 2016 Pantomime prep, its all Lights, Camera Action! as we hold our first Pantomime Cast shoot…Will be in touch soon xx