This October, Black History Month celebrates its theme Saluting Our Sisters, which pays homage to black women throughout history. We’ve reached out to Black performers and creatives in the theatre industry to share their inspirations and journeys to the stage. To round off the series, we’re chatting to Earl Gregory and Carole Stennett who star as Richard and Zelma Bullock in TINA – The Tina Turner Musical, an an exhilarating celebration of one of music’s most influential black women.
How does Tina inspire you in your daily life?
CS: Grateful to have the opportunity to be part of her story. Tina is a great reminder of how you can overcome barriers in life.
EG: Every day I do the show, I am reminded that no matter what one goes through that may be challenging, you have everything you need to get through it even when you feel you don’t.
What life lessons from Tina’s story have you learned while working on the show?
EG: A life lesson that I think is my take away from Tina is that what is meant for you will not pass you by. Tina faced several challenges on her road to success and she made it to where she was meant to be.
CS: Tina worked hard and was tenacious. Even with all the setbacks, she was able to stay true to her dream and succeed. So I have learned never to give up on yourself. Even though life can be hard, you have to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can overcome whatever you’re going through.
How does it feel to continue Tina’s legacy through the musical?
CS: It’s an honour and a privilege.
EG: Being part of the cast that has the honour of carrying on Tina’s legacy feels like we have something very precious and is something that we have the responsibility of looking after. It is so rewarding to see how affected audience members are after a show after witnessing her life journey.
What advice would you give to young Black performers who are inspired by TINA – The Tina Turner Musical?
EG: I would encourage any young black performer by saying to them that “their” dreams are valid and they are represented especially with this iconic woman’s legacy, and that with a lot of hard work determination and drive they can make the dream a reality.
CS: Use Tina’s story to encourage yourself when things get too hard. When things are going well remember how blessed and fortunate you are. Tina gave everything on stage because she realised she had something to give the world. You do too.
TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is the inspirational story of Tina Turner’s triumphant and resilient transformation. Earlier this year, the musical held its West End 5th Anniversary performance in association with Women’s Aid, a leading charity in working together against domestic abuse until women and children are safe. You can get involved with Women’s Aid by fundraising and campaigning.
Discover more about Saluting Our Sisters on the Black History Month website.