Friday, 10 January 2014

Next interviewee....Hannah Scregg

I now have the pleasure to interview Hannah Scregg, a fellow theatre fan and an aspiring performer who tells me her ambitions to perform on stage.

Hannah Scregg (Photo Credit: Darren Bell)

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general? 

I think I’d always been interested in performing; I still have the videos of a 4-year-old me in my first nativity play at school and I wasn’t afraid to throw myself into it to say the least! I continued to take part in school plays through infant and junior school, as well as joining the dance club, but it wasn’t until I saw my first West End show, The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, aged 11, that my interest really took off. I was so inspired by the wonderful performances I’d experienced that day, and, having just started secondary school at the time, I made sure that I took every performance opportunity that arose. I think I was 12 when I went into an audition room for the first time; funnily enough, it was for one of the younger Von Trapp children in my school production of The Sound of Music. I didn’t get it, but I was in the chorus for the show, and I was in the chorus for the main school musical every year for the five years I was there.

I think it was probably at about the age of 14 that I decided to take my interest further; I joined the school choir, took up singing lessons and started to look for groups which I could do outside of school. At the age of 15, I started at a local youth musical theatre group and at the Saturday School at Guildford School of Acting; it was at this point that I properly started dance classes too and I’ve never really looked back since!

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey?
It’s very hard to pick just a few! I’d probably have to say that seeing my first West End show was a very special experience, but Wicked was the third show I saw in the West End and it had an impact on me like nothing ever had before. I went as a part of a school trip; I’m very thankful that I did as I might never have discovered it otherwise! I also have to say that seeing both The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables for the first time are experiences I will treasure for life; my love for them both only increases every time I see them. My first ever Stage Door photo was with Kerry Ellis after I saw her as Nancy in Oliver, so the memories of that will stay with me for a long time. Also, going to the Royal Albert Hall to see her in her ‘Anthems’ tour was very special; at present, it’s the only time I’ve been to that venue, and it really is a very beautiful building. In fact, I find that the first time I visit any theatrical venue or experience a particular show or theatre related event is always something I remember for a long time afterwards. 

Having the chance to go to the Whatsonstage Awards and to the Covent Garden Piazza for the Olivier Awards were also extremely incredible experiences, just getting to be a part of two of the biggest events in the theatre calendar was a dream! West End Live too, that’s always an excellent weekend!

Oh, and of course, making my own West End debut in a summer school showcase at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 2011 was a life-changing moment; I remember bursting into tears during the dress rehearsal onstage because it was the fulfilment of a dream I’d had for so long.

What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or regionally? 

Well, I have to say that my top three are definitely Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked, and I’d recommend those to absolutely everyone! Definitely Once as well, such a special and unique experience. Other shows I’ve thoroughly enjoyed include Matilda, and away from musical theatre, The 39 Steps; it’s absolutely brilliant! I think The Jersey Boys and We Will Rock You are the best of the jukebox musicals, but, so far, it’s very rare that I’ve come out of a show disappointed, so I’d just say that everybody should try to see as many different shows as possible.

Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to? 

There are quite a few on my list at the moment! I haven’t seen Book of Mormon yet so I definitely want to see that at some point. I’d like to try and see the likes of The Commitments, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Miss Saigon when the revival opens later this year. I’m gutted that I never got the chance to see The Light Princess; I’ve seen so many stunning reviews and I would have jumped at the opportunity to go had one arose.

What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013? 

Myself with Lindsay Mendez (bottom, Elphaba) and Tiffany Haas (top, Standby Glinda)
Photo Credit: Hannah Scregg

I think a definite highlight for me has to be going to New York for the first time and seeing three Broadway shows, dream come true! I saw Newsies, Annie and Wicked, and I was lucky enough to meet Lindsay Mendez and Tiffany Haas at the Gershwin Theater Stage Door after Wicked!

Seeing Once for the first time also stands out to me, I came out completely heartbroken but absolutely overwhelmed at the sheer beauty of the piece. I also think that getting the chance to go inside the tent at Chichester’s ‘Theatre in the Park’ when I went to see Barnum was so magical, definitely a theatrical experience like no other! I’ve seen several other shows for the first time this year, including Hairspray, Singin’ In The Rain and The Lion King, and I can honestly say that seeing something for the first time is definitely a memory I always treasure; first experiences of a show always hold a special place in my heart! A Chorus Line at the London Palladium was also a highlight for me this year; probably one of the most ridiculously talented casts I have ever seen, I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion during certain points. It was extremely relatable and touching, I’d recommend it to anyone if it hadn’t finished its run. 

This year I got the chance to step inside a West End dressing room for the first time; on the day of my West End Showcase I visited the dressing rooms of Raoul, Christine and Meg, and it really felt so special to be in there! I also got the chance to have a Phantom of the Opera ‘Masquerade’ workshop with Anna Forbes, who was the current Meg at the time, which was a wonderful experience. 

I’d also have to say that a very special moment for me was at the Stage Door of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre after the concert of A Little Night Music; my favourite Cosette and one of my favourite Christines were both there and my photo with both of them has pride of place in my sparkly frame!

Myself with Olivia Brereton (left) and Lisa-Anne Wood
Photo Credit: Hannah Scregg

What show are you planning to see next?

I’m definitely planning to see Wicked again as soon as I can; Savannah Stevenson, the current Glinda, was my acting teacher when I first started attending the GSA Saturday School so I’m going to be so proud when I see her up there! I’m also almost certainly going to end up at The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables again soon; Olivia Brereton is one of my favourites in the role of Christine so I definitely need to see her again while she’s there. In terms of new shows, I’m going to try and see the revival of Miss Saigon during the summer holidays sometime, as well as attempting to tick off some of the shows I mentioned above that I haven’t seen yet.

I also just have to say that I’m extremely grateful to have met so many wonderful friends through my passion for musical theatre. It’s a true honour to be part of the close-knit community and it’s always lovely to find those who share my passion so we can discuss shows, share opinions and experiences and go on trips to the theatre or related events, so thank you! 

May I take the opportunity to thank Hannah for taking part in the interview.  Have a great musical theatre going and performing 2014!

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