Thursday, 13 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Courtney Stapleton, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Courtney Stapleton is currently one of the understudies in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. Courtney graduated from Arts Educational. Theatre whilst training includes Sasha Larkin in Soho Cinders; Grace Shinn in The Music Man; Marta in Company, Phyllis in Iolanthe and Frank’s Girlfriend in Catch Me If You Can. Courtney made her stage debut in Mamma Mia in the West End and has since appeared in Bat Out Of Hell (West End); Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables in the West End and in Kerry Ellis Live at the Palladium and the Olivier Awards.

Tell us a about what Queens you play.

I am Alternate Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr, and I have one show per week as these queens and I cover the other four in case of holidays, sickness and injury! 

What kind of research did you do to prepare for these roles.

I watched a BBC documentary series about the 6 wives of Henry VIII to get to know them a little more and to try and remember what I had learnt in my GCSE’s! And I also watched BeyoncĂ©’s Live at Rose-land concert because this was the concept the the show is based on.

How do you identify with these roles?

I think that I see a part of myself in all of the queens. I love Jane because she’s true to herself, she doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, she loved Henry and she is proud of that fact and I like to think that I try not to let other people’s opinions get to me in that same way. Catherine Parr and I are VERY similar, she is an observer, she watches the story unfold with the other queens for the whole show and then she comes through strong with such a positive and empowering message. She is a Badass and I LOVE her.

As we all know, the Queens are all inspired by certain superstar sensations! When you play the different Queens, who do you like to draw Queenspiration from?

So technically I think Jane is inspired by Adele and Catherine is inspired by Alicia Keys and to be honest I think that these are so accurate that I don’t need to draw any other inspiration. The whole concept of the show is inspired by a Beyonce concert so it’s hard not draw Queenspiration from her every now and then too! But I do feel like a real popstar most of the time, feels like I’m a part of the Spice girls or Little Mix, it’s an amazing feeling!!

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

I think it spreads such a positive message about strong and powerful females inspiring and empowering each other and that’s something that young girls really need in their lives at the moment! I think the fact the you can learn in such a fun and engaging way is also a big selling point, and to be honest the songs are all brilliant so what’s not to like!!

Lets go back to the start of your journey with the show, how did you find out about the show?

The show wasn’t quite so well known when I was auditioning, so I received a call from my agent about the auditions and then looked into what it was about afterwards. I was obsessed with the soundtrack immediately and the audition process made me fall in love with the choreography and whole vibe of the show and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

And what was your audition process like?

It was more of a workshop process that a typical audition process, we all went in together and we performed for each other and encouraged each other in the room. It was a very supportive environment in the room and I think it really helped bring out the best in everyone. 

You joined after the previous run at the Arts Theatre and the UK tour,
so how has it been coming into this show after it had already been set up?

It was pretty straight forward, we had a few weeks rehearsal on each track and then we had a tech and a dress for both of our alternate tracks. It was a lot easier for us I think because everybody else knew the show and the queens were all so supportive and helpful during our learning process. 

This show is slightly different to others you’ve done, how does this compare to Mamma Mia and Les Miserables?

Of course I love those shows and I loved working on them, but this is different to any show I’ve ever experienced. The queens are all incredible ladies and to be up their with them every night is just a joy! The atmosphere is always incredible and the show is just so much fun to perform. It is definitely more of a concert vibe, with the in ears and the hand heads but that just adds to the bad ass feeling you get when performing!

But the crowd and reaction is similar to that of Bat Out of Hell which you’ve not long finished, how has it been coming straight from that into this?

It’s completely different, my role in Bat Out of Hell was much more dance orientated, I was the dance captain which meant it was my responsibility to keep on top of the choreography. This show is so vocally challenging so it has been a learning curve for me to maintain my vocal health and keep up with all the different harmonies. But I love to sing and it has been so rewarding for me getting my voice out there for people to hear, and what a soundtrack to get to sing every night!

You’ve also joined with your fellow Bat cast member, Vicki Manser. How was it having someone familiar to join the show with?

It was such a blessing! We became very close during Bat out of Hell and I was SO excited when I found out we had both got SIX together. I don’t know how I would have done it without her to be honest, she keeps me sane, and during our rehearsal process we had SO MUCH to learn, but we helped each other through it and is so much fun sharing the stage with her! I love her.

Do you have any advice for those who would love to be in this show one day?

I would say stand in front of your bedroom mirror and practise your best BeyoncĂ© whilst belting into your hair brush!!! It’s all about the sass and the attitude, just bring the (Sasha)-FIERCE and you’ll smash it!

Which one is your favourite Queen and why?

It’s honestly impossible to pick a favourite, they’re all QUEENS and they’re all incredible women in their own right and it’s a privilege to get to play them all. 

Why should people come and see Six?

Because it’s fun, sassy, sexy and definitely one of the BEST SHOWS IN TOWN!!

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