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Curtain Call Theatre Podcast

The Curtain Call Theatre Podcast is the only podcast that will bring you backstage (often during a show) to place you where the drama is actually created. With access like no other podcast, we give you the opportunity to join us in the wings and the dressing rooms and feel what it's like to be part of the company.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 19, 2017

Last year we covered Claire Van Kampen’s Farinelli and the King after it transferred from the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe to the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End.

This past Sunday, it opened on Broadway. The reviews have been raves pretty much across the board. 

Getting just as many great notices as the play’s star are Sam Crane and Iestyn Davies who play Farinelli and Farinelli’s Voice respectively.

The convention that director John Dove employed here was to have renowned counter tenor Iestyn Davies play the castrato Farinelli, who sings the Arias literally standing next to Sam Crane. And it really works, as the boys explain in this week's episode.

Dec 8, 2017

Earlier this week, in Episode 70 of the Curtain Call Theatre Podcast, we brought you the company of People, Places & Things...well, not the entire company.  There were three local actresses that joined the West End Transfer at the St. Anne's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York.  I chatted to them about their previous experiences of the show, what it was like joining an already well-established company and just what is a "Super Emma".

Dec 5, 2017

Matt Humphrey and I had the opportunity to fly over to New York and catch People, Places & Things at the St Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. With both of us having seen the show a couple times before, we got to watch it again before heading backstage last Friday night. And I cannot begin to tell you how phenomenal this production was. The company has grown in stature, taking Jeremy Herrin’s production of Duncan Macmillan’s play to new heights.

 

It has been an absolute pleasure getting to meet this company and get to know them over the last year, and Matt and I were overwhelmed by the welcome we received, both when we watched the show and also when we were backstage. We realise what a privileged position we are in, and it is something that we never forget. This visit, was truly unforgettable.

 

I sat down and talked to the company about taking the play from London (both at the National and the Wyndham’s Theatre) to New York, and how they themselves thought the audiences there received the play.

Nov 21, 2017

The Evening Standard Theatre Awards shortlist was revealed with two cast members from The Ferryman among those nominated.

Laura Donnelly has been nominated for Best Actress and Tom Glynn-Carney for the Emerging Talent Award.

Curtain Call paid a visit to The Ferryman when it was on at The Royal Court, just as they announced their transfer to The Gielgud in London's West End.

Nov 7, 2017

We have seen a recent spate of high profile actresses making acceptance speeches at awards nights - highlighting the unequal representation of actresses on stage and screen and the need to redress the balance. It kicked off in earnest with Denise Gough at the 2017 Olivier Awards, actor Jimmy Nesbit even chipped in at the BAFTA TV awards, and is continuing as witnessed by Deirdre Mullins’ speech after picking up a Best Actress in Film award at the Scottish BAFTA’s. 

I had the opportunity to sit down at the National Theatre a couple weeks ago, who have just announced themselves that there will be equal representation gender balance on stage by 2021, with two Equal Representation for Actresses members, advocates and campaigners Polly Kemp and Jennie Matthews.

 

Curtain Call Website

ERA Website Link

ERA Stage Article

NEROPA Casting Tool Website

Polly Kemp: @pollykemp

Jennie Matthews:  @89Matthews

ERA: @ERA50_50

 

Oct 17, 2017

A few months ago, we went over to the ENO London Coliseum to take in the theatre spectacle that is Bat Out of Hell: The Musical.

 

It started in Manchester before moving down to London, and last weekend the entire London company started their run in Toronto at the Mirvish Theatre.

 

Bat Out of Hell is like nothing I have ever seen...or heard. The sound system in that theatre was incredible.

 

And there were so many people in that production, that, for the first time, I had to have help to make sure that we talked to as many of the company as possible. Theo Bosanquet, who you have heard on this podcast before, and I spoke to scores of people that night, and we hope to have the majority of that content up on our site soon.

 

This week, I thought I would bring you the full chat I had with Sharon Sexton, who plays Sloane in the show. We talked about everything from being in such a physically demanding show, various states of dress and how a musical theatre actor can keep their voice in tact during a long run of a show that’s such a big sing.

Oct 10, 2017

We were fortunate enough to find time with multi award-winning lighting designer Paule Constable, an associate of the National Theatre where her many credits include Follies, Angels in America, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and War Horse. 

She talked to Theo Bosanquet and Matt Humphrey about her serendipitous entry into the profession, her design process and collaborations with directors including Marianne Elliott, and how she feels the industry can improve in regards to gender and diversity. 

Oct 3, 2017

Curtain Call recently partnered with The Mono Box, a fantastic organization founded by Joan Iyiola, actress most recently seen on Stage at Shakespeare’s Globe in Eleanor Rhode’s production of Boudica, and Polly Bennett, a movement director and choreographer who has worked at theatres including the Royal Court, Birmingham Rep, Chichester Festival Theatre and more – currently preparing the cast of the NT’s production of People Places and Things before they head off to New York later this month.

Over they past three years, they have become a resource for theatre professionals – affording them networking opportunities, further skills attainment and practical tools for the industry.

Everyone we talked to was so enthusiastic about The Mono Box and their ability to give advice, allow networking opportunities and support professionals no matter where they are in their career. 

I spoke to Niall Bishop, a volunteer and an Ambassador for The Mono Box, about his experience of his time working for the amazing group of people.

https://www.curtaincallonline.com/

http://www.themonobox.co.uk/home

 

Sep 26, 2017

I have been waiting to chat to my next guest for ages! I first met Olivia Williams when I was understudying Matthew Fox in Neil Labute’s two-hander “In a Forest Dark and Deep” back in 2011, and have had the privilege to share the stage with her on numerous Word Theatre stages around London. I am in AWE of her talent. Olivia doesn’t just play characters, she inhabits them. Rosemary Cross in Rushmore or Anna Crowe in The Sixth Sense to Miss Stubbs in An Education. On screen, you just believe her. And that’s brilliant acting. As for her on stage exploits...she’s such a powerhouse. And she's going from strength to strength in her latest production "Mosquitoes" at the National Theatre in London.

Sep 20, 2017

Curtain Call had the privilege of attending a Q&A after a performance of Man to Man at the Wilton's Music Hall this week.  Director Bruce Guthrie and Translator Alexandra Wood talk about their journey of taking the challenging, yet completely elastic script by Manfred Karge. 

Sep 19, 2017

This week's podcast was recorded in the press room of The Stage Debut Awards, where winners and guest presenters spoke to Curtain Call's Theo Bosanquet about their own debuts. The answers were touching and surprising in equal measure (suffice it to say, we're keen to see Rufus Norris reprise his performance of a chicken).

Guests you'll here from include Preeya Kalidas, Dan Gillespie Sells, Grace Moloney, Noma Dumezweni, Christina Bennington, Abraham Popoola, Lekan Lawal, Rufus Norris, Nica Burns and Kenneth Cranham. 

Sep 12, 2017

This week, I thought I would sit down with the Casting Directors Guild and find out just what it means to be a casting director. What it means to have those three little letters (CDG) following your name, and the path one takes to become a casting director…and believe me, you will be surprised at the journeys of my two guests this week, Alastair Coomer and Ginny Schiller...CDG.

Alastair and Ginny both sit on the committee of the Casting Director’s Guild. Alistair is currently the Casting Director at the Donmar Warehouse working on all productions there, as well as freelance theatre productions for the West End and Regional theatres. Before that he worked at the National Theatre for a decade. Ginny Schiller has been Casting Director for the RSC, Chichester Festival Theatre, Rose Theatre Kingston, English Touring Theatre and Soho Theatre, and is the current casting director for the Ustinov Theatre, Bath.

We were also joined by Sophie Hallett the CDG Administrator who looks after the members of the guild. 

Sep 5, 2017

This week's podcast is all about gender, a hot topic both in the news headlines and the arts world currently. It features a conversation with Camden People's Theatre (CPT) artistic director Brian Logan and acclaimed writer/director Lucy J Skilbeck. 

CPT is about to launch its festival Come As You Are, which features 'a host of gender-anarchists with more questions than answers'. Theo Bosanquet went along to find out more about it, and Skilbeck's new play Bullish, which is headlining the festival.

Aug 29, 2017

Reece Shearsmith celebrated a birthday this past weekend, and I thought we’d help him celebrate by bringing you a little chat we had with him when he was appearing in Hangmen at The Royal Court.

 

Reece played the character of Syd, the stammering ex-assistant to David Morrissey’s ex-hangman Harry, both of whom are coming to terms with the abolition of capital punishment in Britain.

Aug 22, 2017

Bat Out of Hell The Musical starts just like it’s title, and doesn’t stop all evening. I have rarely been to a musical that kicks the door down with a wall of sound as big as it does here, and then carries on. Big props to the sound department on the show. And HUGE props to the entire company of Bat Out of Hell for a belting sound you produce. The singing on this show is off the charts. And we look forward to bringing you another podcast soon about how professionals keep themselves fit, both physically and vocally, when doing such a big sing.

 

But this week, I wanted to bring you a conversation that we haven’t had the privilege of bringing you to date, and that is from a follow spot operator. That technician that sits, not just in the gods, but above the gods, and makes sure that special is turned on so that your star is basking in glorious floodlight. It’s a proper skill and the best follow spot operators are well known within the industry. Guy Aldridge has been at the ENO for 30 years working on hundreds and hundreds of shows. I talked to him about his early career and how he got to the ENO.

Aug 15, 2017

Jesus Christ Superstar has returned to the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. The Olivier Award Winner for Best Musical Revival 2017 (not to mention Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards) was such a hit that it is literally back by popular demand with roughly 80% of the original astonishing cast returning to play in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical at one of the country’s most iconic theatres.

Returning as Herod is Peter Caulfield. We met Peter last year as we covered the show for Curtain Call and I had a great chat with him as he got covered in latex, glitter, all kinds of make-up, hair gel…you name it, he had it on him. It was a complete transformation.

Aug 8, 2017

We had the opportunity to talk to the company of Woyzeck, which recently closed and I wanted to bring you the chats I had with the understudies Isabella Marshall, David Rubin and Theo Solomon, who had big jobs on their hands covering the lead roles on this highly intense and extremely high profile show.

 

Well, it seems as though they had a great time, and you can hear it in their interviews. I especially love David Rubin’s account when he was on stage at the RSC and didn’t know he was playing a role until the point when he was actually mid-scene.

Aug 1, 2017

As the National Youth Theatre (NYT) prepares to launch its new season at three venues across London, we catch up with artistic director Paul Roseby. Having been in post for more than ten years, Roseby has commissioned over 100 plays and helped countless students on their way to a career in theatre. We were also joined by Martha Ibbotson, who last year completed an NYT summer course, to get a student's-eye-view of life at the company. 

Jul 19, 2017

There have been two American Michaels roaming the streets of the UK over the past few weeks. We last saw them on the stage, but now they have stepped from the boards in front of the cameras proving that it’s not only the bright lights of the theatre scene that are a big draw for Hollywood talent.

 

Michael C Hall and Michael Esper appeared on stage together last year in the musical Lazarus, which played to sold out audiences at the temporary space King’s Cross Theatre. Michael C Hall is busy in Manchester filming Safe for Netflix, and Michael Esper has been spotted in and around London filming the Getty’s family saga, Trust for the FX network. It’s great to see them return to the UK in any capacity, cementing that the UK’s entertainment industry is thriving, and vital to the country. I sat down and talked to both Michael’s about their experience in Lazarus when we visited the show on the anniversary of Bowie’s death, and it was clear that one thing that the musical did was remind us how prolific David Bowie was with his songwriting - and how influential an artist he was to whatever he chose to turn his hand to.

Jul 11, 2017

Robert Icke has a great track record here in the UK, having had an Olivier Award nomination for 1984 back in 2014 for Best New Play (where he also picked up the Best Director gong at the UK Theatre Awards), but today I want to bring you a little chat we had during the warm up of the play where he won the Olivier Award for Best Director. Oresteia, which showed at Trafalgar Studios a little less than two years ago, also brought a classic story, this time a Greek tragedy, to the stage. And, once again, cameras were a feature of this production. Less CCTV cameras of Big Brother, but broadcast cameras so that the killing of a child could be witnessed by the population as a leader’s sacrifice to help win a war. It was harrowing stuff, and extremely hard to watch, but was riveting theatre – something in which Robert Icke has made a name for himself.

Jul 4, 2017

This week, London’s West End says goodbye to a performance garnered an Olivier Award for the portrayal of Lola, the iconic and unforgettably eccentric drag queen in Kinky Boots. Matt Henry is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. And his hard work and dedication to the role of Lola has earned him numerous awards, including the aforementioned Olivier, the WhatsOnStage award not to mention a host of nominations as well as being on a Grammy nominated cast album! Not bad.

 

Curtain Call Membership

 

Curtain Call Website

 

Transcription:

CURTAIN CALL BACKSTAGE CHAT WITH MATT HENRY


CC: This show has a long history, doesn't it? It started out as a film, it's been a play and musical. It's done the works, hasn't it?

MH: The show is based on a true story. And it follows the life of Charlie and Lola and their relationship - their friendship, actually. There was a film back in 2005 with Chewitel Ejiafor. I don't know what to say, except that it's a great show to be a part of...and the message in the show about being yourself.

CC: It's quite relevant for today, isn't it?

MH: Do you know what? I think the show is relevant in the sense that it deals with relationship issues. Relationships between friends. Relationships between lovers. Relationships between fathers and their expectations, our parents’ expectations of us. I think it transcends throughout our daily lives. Even as an actor myself, my mother has an expectation of me to be a success. That's all she wants for me regardless of what I'm doing. She just wants me to be successful in that realm of whatever I'm doing. I think that when people come see the show that's what they connect with. The fact that "Oh my god, we all have parents and I want to achieve. And it's okay for me not to achieve what they set our for me, but to be happy doing what I love doing and my parents to be happy for me." For me, personally when I sing "I'm Not My Father's Son", these are the things that come to me in that moment. Because I don't really have a fantastic relationship with my father, but I have an amazing relationship with my mother who has become a patriarch...as a maternal but a very patriarchal person in my life as well.

CC: My last question: How do you guys keep up that energy? There's not many lulls, which is great when "Not My Father's Son" comes because you really get sucked into that. But then you come out high kicking!

MH: We don't ever want the audience to have time to think. Sometimes when you think, you overanalyse. One of the things Jerry (Mitchell, director) got us to do is that he's very onto us about pace. With my show, as soon as I come out, my show doesn't stop. It's like the train's arrived and we go. Only at the end of the show do I get to have a break. When I'm not on stage I am getting changed. When I'm on stage, I'm probably getting changed and doing other things as well. But it's such a fast-paced show. What's really good about comedy is that sometimes, if you try to over-play beats, the audience have got the joke before you've got there. So you've got to always try and beat them. I think that's what so fantastic about this show and the way it's been written is that we're able to get to our beats and the audience join us but we've moved on. I think that helps this show. I have friends who have come three times, and every time they go, "Oh! I didn't realise that bit. I didn't see that bit." Because it's all happening, there's so much information that's being given to you as an audience member. That's why people come back because they're like "Oh my god, I was only watching you." or "I was only watching that person. I didn't see that bit. I want to see it again. I need to see it again. I need to hear the songs again." So there's so much that this show is offering as a mindscape of information.

CC: Thank you so much for you time.

MH: I hope I didn't waffle on. Sorry. (laughs)

Jun 30, 2017

Earlier in the week, you may have heard Andrew Higgins, one of the dynamic duo of sign language interpreters that worked the West End Live event in Trafalgar Square last weekend. And it wouldn’t be a complete week without brining you Andrew’s partner in crime, Jack. There were videos aplenty of Jack getting down to Thriller, giving attitude during Dreamgirls and dancing seductively during Beautiful. I wanted to talk to Jack to get his experience of that memorable weekend and how he got into the business of sign language interpreting for live events.

Jun 27, 2017

Last weekend saw the return of West End Live to Trafalgar Square. 57 performances over two days (and that’s just the shows!) ensured that the huge audiences were wowed by a brilliant turnout of the West End’s most popular shows including Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Mis, Half a Sixpence, Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar and many, many more.

However, what was unexpected was the performances from the sign language interpreters at the side of the stage. Andrew Higgins and Jack Flavell came close to stealing the show. As the day went on, more and more people started to appreciate the hard work going into their performances. And yes, if any of you listening saw their performances being tweeted and shared across the social media platforms you will also appreciate just how much energy they were putting into it. A huge hit, and hopefully a mainstay as long as West End Live is around. I got to speak to Andrew about his experience and how he came to be on the stage last weekend. It’s a brilliant story and it’s great to be able to share it here today.

 

 

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Curtain Call Website

 

 

Full Transcript of Podcast:

 

Hi. John Schwab here from Curtain Call and welcome to episode 52 of the Curtain Call Theatre podcast – the podcast that brings you backstage as close as you possibly can be, often while the shows are actually happening, to meet the people that make theatre happen.

 

I’d like to apologise to everyone for not getting an episode out last week, but don’t you worry, we are going to be making up for that in spades with this week’s podcast, including a bonus episode later this week.

 

Now…if you’d like to hear more exclusive backstage chats and see just as exclusive backstage photography, head on over to curtaincallonline.com to discover loads of content that we are constantly updating and adding to. You’ll also find photographic prints, news stories, blog posts and much, much more.

 

We also have some final free Curtain Call Pro profiles to give away. By signing up for a FREE, that’s right, FREE profile you can let the world know what you’ve been up to on stage AND screen. You’ll also get a year’s free use of all of the professional profile tools that we are launching later this summer, and that’s as a “thank you” for getting on our site early. Just go to our membership page, sign up and use the code CCPRO100. No credit card required, as there’s no need for payment and there’s less than 50 left now. Once they are gone, they are gone.

 

One year ago, we launched this podcast. It’s been a fantastic year and I have absolutely loved putting together these podcasts and bringing you stories from behind the curtains with actors, stage management, directors, playwrights, chaperones, musicians…You name it, they have been represented on this podcast.

 

If you’ve liked listening, please go over to iTunes and for a birthday present, rate and review us so that more people can join you in listening to us here at Curtain Call. I thank you in advance.

 

And now…for this week’s podcast.

 

Last weekend saw the return of West End Live to Trafalgar Square. 57 performances over two days (and that’s just the shows!) ensured that the huge audiences were wowed by a brilliant turnout of the West End’s most popular shows including Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Mis, Half a Sixpence, Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar and many, many more.

 

However, what was unexpected was the performances from the sign language interpreters at the side of the stage. Andrew Higgins and Jack Flavell came close to stealing the show. As the day went on, more and more people started to appreciate the hard work going into their performances. And yes, if any of you listening saw their performances being tweeted and shared across the social media platforms you will also appreciate just how much energy they were putting into it. A huge hit, and hopefully a mainstay as long as West End Live is around. I got to speak to Andrew about his experience and how he came to be on the stage last weekend. It’s a brilliant story and it’s great to be able to share it here today.

 

Have a listen.

 

John Schwab: I’ve don’t think I’ve ever sat down and had a cht with someone of your experience. Can you explain what you do after you introduce yourself?

 

Andy Higgins: Yes. So, my name is Andy Higgins. I’m a sign language interpreter and I’ve been working around the UK doing signed theatre performances for the last sixteen years.

 

JS: Sixteen years?!

 

AH: Yes.

 

JS: You must have a pretty impressive CV then, for sixteen years.

 

AH: Yes. Within my career I’ve probably done about 60 different performances. Until it comes to panto and then we’re into a different realm where every year, as an interpreter, I usually do around eleven or twelve different pantomimes in a six week run. So that keeps me incredibly busy until January when I sort of pull the back of my shirt label and check my name and go, “I’m not Cinderella at this theatre, or I’m not Dick Whittington from this venue. I’m definitely Andy Higgins.”

 

JS: Excellent. So, Andy, was that a career path that you saw? What was your background? Did you have an active interest in theatre growing up? What was your ‘in’, as it were, to the industry?

 

AH: Basically, I started interpreting when I used to work for the local authority up in Manchester twenty years ago. A deaf person came to me signing on the reception. He was signing away to me and I couldn’t understand sign language…and he was quite rude to me. Off away he walked and an hour later his social worker came to apologise. She told him off that being rude to a council worker wasn’t acceptable. But she was also deaf and I couldn’t communicate with her. So I asked if the council would pay for me to do a sign language course and they said “no.” And as people will know, in Manchester we don’t give up very easily. We always keep going. So I enrolled myself in a Level 1 sign language course and it really went from there. And after about three years of really rigourous signing, two nights a week getting involved…doing lots of activities within the deaf community…I started interpreting, which is a little bit rare but just is the path that I seemed to fall into.

 

JS: That’s a great backstory. Working for a council is quite a long way from being in front of 1200 people in a panto. What was the next thing that happened to get you on stage?

 

AH: I love theatre. I love going to watch theatre. I remember going to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with Stephen Gately as the lead in Liverpool.

 

JS: I remember that production, which kind of shows my age just a little bit…

 

AH: Me too!

 

(laughter)

 

AH: After seeing that production of Joseph in Liverpool…and interpreted performance…the interpreter was a deaf gentleman by the name of Paul Whittaker who had been doing signed theatre for many year. His first performance was a production of Joseph at the London Palladium in 1992. Back in the early 90’s and before that, there were no signed performances. So if you were profoundly deaf and a sign language user, theatre wasn’t accessible.

 

JS: I did not know that.

 

AH: Yeah. It’s a big recent change. So he was a pioneer of getting signed theatre and access for the theatre out and about in the regions. I then saw him after the performance and said, “I want to do that!” That was the February and in the following May I was given the first tour to do with UK Productions of Fiddler on the Roof. And Paul still says, to this day, that he gave it to me because he didn’t know how to interpret the second line to “If I was a Rich Man.”

 

JS: I was just about to say…Okay…the lyrics of “Rich Man”: If I were a rich man, there’s a lot of ya da da da da da’s.

 

AH: Correct.

 

JS: How funny. And how did that go Andrew?

 

AH: I loved the tour. It was about eight venues around the UK. And it’s scary going out on stage and thinking “I’m translating in a completely different language. Giving the rhythm, the harmony, the melody, the form, the pitch the music and then the emotion of the characters on the stage…and not even being Jewish…it felt a weight to give. I’m not an actor. I love acting and I’ve done stuff when I was younger. But, I am definitely the vehicle and the conduit. Basically, an actor is borrowing my hands and a deaf person is borrowing my ears.

 

JS: You just mentioned that you’re not an actor. So take me through your first performance in front of an audience and how did you feel?

 

AH: My first performance in front of an audience? Wow! Terrified, actually. Because I’d spend a large amount of time with the script. I’ve watched the show twice and then I have to go on stage and replicate that. Very often as an interpreter when you’re signing a show you don’t get a lot of time to prepare. And that’s a skill in itself – a very quick bit of preparation. It would be wonderful to have a photographic memory and an audible recording memory so that you’re replaying everything you’re hearing in your head to translate. Because I remember going out on stage for Fiddler on the Roof and thinking “I can hear the drummer and the drummer sounds amazing, but I can’t hear the actors singing.” And I thought, “Is that me? Is that a mental block? Nooo!” But actually the place I had been placed on stage was too far away from the actors who were using amplification. So they weren’t particularly singing or speaking very loud and I was behind the speaker stack. So I was actually in a sound void. The closest audible instrument wasn’t a voice, it was the drums!

 

JS: How nice of them to do that. I have experience of having an interpreter on stage and I always find those shows exhilarating because there’s another voice on stage that you’re not used to having. I was in Reduced Shakespeare Company for years and we spoke so quickly but we actually involved the interpreter in our show. We made him the fourth character. Have you come across that in shows? And I’m leading up to West End Live which was incredible. Have you been involved as a cast member, as it were, in any of the shows.

 

AH: Recently, something happened that was quite funny. I was translating Sister Act over in Stoke. And unfortunately there was just this one slight moment during the scene where they’ve taken the taxi and are about to kill him for the second time and go, “Who did you take to the police station?! Who did you take to the police station?!” And he’s got a gag in this mouth and he’s going “(mumbling sounds)” and making a lot of noise. At which point I’m signing away and suddenly went “(mumbling sounds)”. No idea. I turned around, and hadn’t quite realized that they were only four feet from me. And the actors just looked at each other, they looked at him and said, “Who did you take?” and he went, “(mumble)”. Then they looked at me for the translation and the only thing I could do was throw my hands up in the air as if to go, “I don’t know! I might be an interpreter but…” Pantomime is the one time of the year where they all include the interpreter – throwing words in like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Or they’ll throw water at you or gunge at you and it’s always great fun. And, definitely, deaf audiences always find that fantastic. One of the most memorable moments being involved in a piece of theatre was working on Rocky Horror in full outfit with various narrator who just decided to go completely off script to see how the interpreter is going to translate something. While the script only has one particular swear word or one item that is rude, it’s all about your imagination. The role of the interpreter is not to sign, literally, the script – it’s to sign what is meant by what is said…And that’s always quite funny, especially with Rocky Horror.

JS: You know I have got to end with West End Live. You guys had a busy weekend. You guys were the hit of the show, you and Jack. It was incredible to watch your interpretations of the 57 performances that happened over the weekend. There are videos of you all over the internet signing to Thriller, Matilda to Dreamgirls. You and Jack had a brilliant weekend. What was it like for you and will you be coming back?

AH: This was the first time Jack and I have worked together. So doing West End Live this year was a really great experience of putting all of our musical knowledge together to bring it to one event. Yes, there were 57 performances, but it was seven hours the first day and six hours the next day. And it was crazy, continuous interpreting bar two performances. But actually that came out as 116 different songs to translate, 116 songs to sign, 116 songs to prep, 116 times doing, “Okay! We can do this!!!” Some songs we knew really well because we’ve don’t them before. And some songs we were going “We can’t hear these!” But we really supported each other, which was great fun.

JS: With the love that you got from all of the new Twitter fans and everything else, are you looking forward to returning next year? I think you might see some t-shirts with your faces on them.

AH: T-shirts with our faces on them might be a little strange but we had a great time. I think the highlight for me was some of the Les Mis parts and the Disney parts. But actually the Twitter response, once we were told by the organisers that we were trending on the Twitter page for “West End Live” and “Interpreter” and “Signer” and “BSL”…we then went and had a look when we had time and we were like, “Oh my gosh!” So we both had a really great time. We loved doing the translation. And when we got told about the Twitter trending for the hashtag “WestEndLiveInterpreter” and “Signer” and “BSL”, we were just overwhelmed. In all humbleness, we were just doing our job making sure that great performances got translated as best as we could. We had a fabulous time and hope that we get asked to come back next year.

JS: Well, we hope you get asked back next year, as well. It just added another element. I think Official London Theatre, SOLT and everyone that organizes that will see how much of a contribution you guys made to West End Live this year and how much people loved you. Andrew, that was awesome. I’m looking forward to speaking to your compadre, Jack. It was great to see you and thank you for your time. It was great. Thank you.

AH: Thank you. Bye.

(Music)

JS: Andrew Higgins there, sing language interpreter for West End Live 2017.

 

Now, before we wrap up.

 

And if you’re a theatre fan, get the same access to all of the exclusives that the professionals do by becoming a Curtain Call Insider. Head over to curtaincallonline.com and on the membership page, click on “Insider”. Simples.

 

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We’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or feedback from the podcast, get in touch with us via any of the social media platforms I just mentioned, or write to me at john@curtaincallonline.com

 

I’d like to end with a big thank you to Andrew Higgins and Jack Flavell (who you will hear from shortly, I hope) for their time, both in talking to me today and also for playing such an integral and entertaining role in West End Live 2017. Long may they continue!

 

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Curtain Call Theatre Podcast. And catch you all next week. Bye.

 

Jun 13, 2017

20 years ago on the 12th of June 1997, a major new theatre opened on London’s South Bank. It was the dream of American actor and director Sam Wannamaker to bring back to life one of the theatres that gave birth to drama as we know it today. It took over a quarter of a century from inception to lights up, with Wannamaker initially launching the Shakespeare’s Globe Trust to fund the project. Unfortunately, Wannamaker died 3 and a half years before the doors were officially opened to audiences by Her Majesty the Queen. And it is a real shame that he never got to see what a huge success The Globe as become, completely transforming the area that surrounds it. But what a legacy he left behind.

 

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Jun 7, 2017

This week, to coincide with our piece written by Theo Bosanquet where he lists 10 of the best outdoor theatres around the world, I’d like to take you back to a chat I had with Andy Locke at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Andy is the Commercial Director, the first one of those we’ve had on this podcast. We sat down before a performance of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in 2015 and the topics covered were what his job entails, coping with changing light and what makes performing on the iconic Regent’s Park stage such a special occasion to actors both new and old.

 

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