Thursday, 6 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Aimie Atkinson, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Aimie Atkinson is currently playing the role of Katherine Howard in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre, after being part of the original cast and being featured on the cast album. Her other credits include Daniela in 'In The Heights' (Kings Cross Theatre) Serena in Legally Blonde (Kilworth House), Teresa in Blockbuster (UK Tour), Penny Lane in Carnaby Street the Musical (UK Tour) Shelby Stevens in Steel Pier (Union Theatre). Chloe in the Take That Musical Never Forget (UK Tour), Aimie originated the lead role of Luisa in Zorro the Musical (UK Tour), Elizabeth in Dirty Dancing (UK tour), Amber in Legacy Falls (Charing Cross Theatre), Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Brighton Theatre Royal) Sofia in Howard Goodhall's Days of Hope (Kings Head Theatre), Versuvio Vasace in Eurobeat and Polly Pry in Cannibal the Musical both at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Aimie is also the Winner of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Voice of Musical Theatre award.

Tell us a bit about Katherine Howard’s Story. 

Catherine Howard was the, fifth wife of Henry VIII. Her downfall came when Henry learned of her premarital affairs.When Catherine was 13 she supposedly had a relationship with Henry Mannox a music teacher; he was 23 at the time and she was but a child. In today’s landscape this would be considered rape. She was then sent away to live with her step grandmother who left all the girls in her household to their own devises. The men would unlock the girls rooms at night and pay them visits. There at her grandmother she had a brief affair with Francis Dereham, who had called her his wife; . After her marriage to Henry, she was accused of adultery with Thomas Culpepper one of the kings right hand men. It should be noted that Thomas was a known rapist and Murderer so all round great chap! It is also good to note that the king had the law changed and a bill was passed declaring it treason for an unchaste woman to marry the king. This signed her death warrant and she was beheaded without a trial or means to stand up for herself. Katherine Howard was a child when she was thrust into this male dominated world, she was just trying to survive and doing what she was told. She really didn’t have a choice in the situation.

What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role? 

I did a lot of research for the role of K Howard. Her story is heartbreaking and quite difficult to learn much about. She is often looked over in most books and is abridged down to a brief paragraph. I took a lot of insight from the wonderful Gareth Russell’s book ‘Young Damned and fair’ Also ‘ Katherine Howard :Henry VIII’s slandered queen by Conor Byrne is fabulous.

The Queenspiration for this role is Ariana Grande and Britney Spears, how did you take that inspiration and make it your own? 

I took a few little nuances from both of these incredible singers. Both Ariana and Britney are girl next door types, butter wouldn’t melt but they also have a playful more feisty side which I like to put into Katherine. She’s very seductive without even knowing it and also highly intelligent. She’s spoken about in history as not being particularly bright and a bit of a Harlet but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

This show has really catapulted into London and people are loving it! Why do you think it has been so successful? 

I think one of the most amazing things about the show is that it is so relatable. The problems and the issues that these women went through aren’t really a lot different from what wemon go through today. It also has a big heart and a great message for young girls to stand up for themselves and to know there own self worth. Also the songs are pretty good too!

Lets go back to the start, you were in the original cast of the show in London. What was your audition like? 

The audition for six was great fun! We had a dance audition and then sang our own songs in front of all the auditionees. I sang Rolling in the deep and everyone joined in and sang the bvs. I then got called back to read Katherine Howard’s script and Her song. I also had to sing Don’t lose your head with Christina Modestou. She was hilarious and I knew she would be cast. I was thrilled when I got the role and also because my girlfriend Genesis Lynea was also cast at Anna of Cleves. It was a magical day when we found out. We were both jumping for joy.

Me and Natalie Paris are the only cast members from the workshops so we were really excited to take on the roles again and go on tour with the production. It has been a crazy Journey and we’ve been so lucky to share it together.

You were recently nominated for an Olivier Award alongside you fellow Queens, congratulations! Tell us about how and where you found out.

I was in a class when the Olivier nominations were announced. When I came out my phone was going crazy with missed calls etc. It actually stopped working because the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. I couldn’t get in touch with anyone for about an hour. I knew something good had happened but wasn’t sure exactly what. We were all over the moon when we found out!

What was it like representing SIX at the Olivier Awards?

The oliviers is such a massive honour and to have been on the journey with the show from the start has been such an adventure. In musicals you dream of shows like this. Amazing well rounded female roles that are richly layered and funny. We are all so lucky to play such strong women.

If you could play any of the other Queens, which one would you play and why?

I would love to play Catherine of Aragon she is so strong and the real warrior of the group. I think Boleyn would also be fun to play she’s such a funny character and Has some great one liners in the show. I love comedy and all six roles are gifts to any actor.

Why should people come and see Six? 

There are so many reasons to see Six but I guess the biggest one is you will not be disappointed. It has that rare quality of being a show that you want to see again and again.

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