Luke Brady, Moses, The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre
How did you get into acting?
I started with an amateur dramatics society. That was it, essentially. I was just put into a little class to develop some confidence and social skills, that you do, and it developed from there. I found a good core of friends that I’m still mates with today. From there I went to college and studied it and took it further and found a career out of it. So, it’s been there from the offset, really.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I think it’s collaborating with people. Working with like-minded people that are expressive, diverse. People that challenge you and keep you sort of wanting to come in the building and do something fresh every day.
What was the journey from theatres closing to theatre opening again?
Well, when lockdown happened, it was just nothing; non-existent. The biggest shift was going from being in everyday, having a routine and structure to trying to find your own reasons to be creative and survive. Dealing with family and touching base with people that you hadn’t for a long time, and then coming back into a full time routine.
The other side of the pandemic was incredibly difficult, just to act as if nothing had happened and go straight into these eight shows a week. But [I feel] very fortunate to be back. It’s taken a long time to get back and now we are, fingers crossed, we’re onto a good thing now. But, it’s day by day, isn’t it. I think that’s what it taught me; just to take things moment to moment, appreciate it and be in the moment.
How does that feel to be back?
It took me a while to just learn how to communicate with people again, because I’ve just been used to being in my dressing gown and my own four walls. Zoom calls were the closest thing I had to having a conversation with anyone outside my bubble. Integrating back into society and also quickly putting that aside to deliver performance -that skill and muscle had fallen a bit by the wayside.
What was the number one thing that you missed about live performance?
I think it’s our diverse audiences, with our show specifically the demographic of people, is… it’s a worldly show. So, when the lights come up, we see all different kinds of races, creeds and people from everywhere; that really does make it feel worth it. It’s a story that touches a lot of people.
Dominique Pierre-Louis, Stage Manager, The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre
How did you get into your line of work?
I was doing A-Level Music way back when, and we were doing our end of year concert and [my tutor] said to me, can you be in charge of stage management? I had no idea what that was, so [I went0 to] talk to the theatre technician and find out. On the night of the concert I was organising the lights and stuff like that and had to stop doing that to get up and perform, and in the end, I [realised] I way prefer doing the backstage stuff and just went from there really.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It suits my personality. I have to coordinate loads of different departments and I’m interested in all of them, but I wouldn’t want to become an expert in any of them. I just I like organisation. It works for me. I like the live theatre, I like problem solving. You end up doing random stuff like this!
What was the journey for you from theatres closing to theatres opening?
That night we’ll closed just sent us all into shock. You know, you turn up to work, you knew something was looming, but we thought we had, maybe a few weeks, even a month. We figured that if we did close it would be a few weeks and we’ll be back. None of us realised that day that we’d come to work about to do a show and just [be] told to go home indefinitely.
It gave me time to realise how much I did love my job. I’ve tried other jobs throughout the pandemic. I worked in a hotel, hated it. And we work a lot, long hours so when we did stop, we kind of were all probably slightly relieved in a way because we’re knackered, but we were was so ready to come back when it did come back.
What was the feeling of being back?
A newfound respect, I think for everyone. I think we learned a lot in that year. Everyone had a time to reflect, and so many things popped up in that year. Different kinds of issues and matters. And I think everyone had more time to work out what it is that they want for themselves and actually what’s important.
We’re so used to putting everything in theatre because we love what we do and it can be all consuming. But actually, to step out of it and realise there’s other things, was also really good. Coming back it there is excitement, and that fire and passion, but also a newfound respect for a better work-life balance as well.
What was the number one thing that you missed about live performance and theatre?
People, the people. My world suddenly got really small, whereas in this world we work with so many people all the time. Suddenly just being around a handful of people for all that time. I missed the jokes, the laughs. The family atmosphere that you don’t get in many other jobs.
Liam Tamne, Ramses, The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre
When did you get into acting?
I started as a singer so I started out in the music industry and I sort of fell into acting, if I’m honest. It started probably when I was around about 13, 14. From like local theatre groups and stuff like that.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is probably performing to people every day and seeing people in this show in particular that reflects the sort of world that we live in. And like, it’s very rare to go to a theatre production and actually see black and brown faces sat in the audience. So, for us, it’s really important that we’re a show that’s all about diversity, so that’s the biggest thing. And working with charities like Mousetrap who are all about giving back to children that are underrepresented or from a lower-class household or just don’t have the funding. So, giving back is a huge thing, and that part of that is performing to those black and brown faces that don’t normally get the opportunity to see a production like ours.
What was the journey like for you from theatres closing to theatres reopening?
For me it was a weird one because there was a lot of reflection. It’s probably one of the hardest times in my life. Financially, I was crippled if I’m honest. I didn’t get any support. I didn’t get the help that was needed. I just moved house literally in March as it happened, so, and we upped our mortgage. So, it’s a really, really tough time, yeah.
But in those dark days and those dark periods, actually what happened was the world listened to the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, I’m African Indian and my mum’s Irish and so for me it was like the fact that people were reflecting and taking notice of their privilege and understanding and wanting to educate themselves; this would never have happened if it wasn’t for the fact that we did pause. Because everyone is constantly busy, and in this paused moment, it created so many opportunities for me. I’m now working as a racial inclusivity and equality adviser with theatre colleges and with unions and stuff and diversity groups have been born out of it, particularly with our production at the Prince of Egypt. So, it’s been a massive journey for everybody, but in a twisted way, there’s been light in these dark, this dark period. It’s really helped course-correct in a really meaningful way.
What’s the atmosphere like being back?
Yeah, yeah, it’s amazing. I think what, the funny thing is, as actors we always feel like when we do our job, you’re like oh gosh, six days a week. This is so hard, this is gruelling, but actually you’re like, I want those six days at a week back! And so, now we’re actually back and doing it. It’s incredible and people have missed theatre. People want to see live theatre. It’s not the same, and as much as digital streaming has been great and it’s been fun and it’s created a whole other workforce and a whole other world for theatre. It’s just never the same as being in a in a room where someone bubbling off your vibes and your or and the atmosphere and that feeling.
And just like I said before, people actually experience in theatre and particularly like underprivileged kids that actually get to see these shows now and hope these doors are opening. It’s amazing because all these stories are so important and everyone has the right to hear or tell their story. And so, for me, it’s incredible. Like in the Prince of Egypt, we are just constantly blown away by the reaction of people wanting to come and see in the comments that we get all the time after the show. So, it’s beautiful to finally be back on stage.
What was the number one thing that you missed about live performance and being on stage?
Yeah, my the number one I missed was that I have to say is the company. I’ve never worked in a company that has been so diverse before. I’ve never been a part of a production that actually cares about individual… individuality, really, that embraces that authenticity and allows people to grow and play constantly. Because commercial musical theatre can sometimes be very regimented and this isn’t. It’s very much, let’s adapt when our cover’s on, they do it completely differently and that’s embraced and it’s encouraged. Which stems from our director, obviously Scott Schwarz, and our choreographer Sean Cheesman and they encourage that just to show your individuality’s, so I’ve missed all of that. I missed the play I miss being with my family, I call them, that’s the Prince of Egypt, so it’s been. It’s been incredible to be a part of something that actually is so powerful and impactful, but to finally be back on stage it means so much.