Monday, 21 December 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Dreaming of Dreamgirls with Samara Casteallo | Captured by Liz

Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

We’re in the middle of the Strand, that’s illuminated in Christmas decorations and festive lights. Equipped with a warm coffee on this cold day, Samara meets me outside the Savoy Theatre. Before theatres went dark, Samara was just about to open in Tina The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, just a stone throw away from the Savoy. The cast were about to do their dress rehearsal ahead of their opening night, when the theatre was closed. 

Having made her West End debut in Dreamgirls, the Strand and Covent Garden area is like Samara’s second home. As we find ourselves outside the prestigious hotel and theatre exterior, she tells me about her time in Dreamgirls. “It was such an amazing time! It was my first West End show, so it will always have a special place in my heart.” I ask her about her opening night - the first night she stepped out onto that West End stage. “It was incredible. I can’t really describe it. The moment the curtain rises is like nothing else. I can’t put it into words. The adrenaline, just the overall feeling. You work so hard in rehearsals, and of course before that, and then to get to that point. It’s just incredible.” 

I feel for everyone who was in the new cast of Tina with Samara, some of which were just due to make their West End debuts in the show as well, just seeing her face light up as she describes her opening night in Dreamgirls. “We just hope we’ll soon be able to return to the Aldwych and open in this amazing show.” 

We take a stroll around the area, and find ourselves down by the Thames. It’s actually quite nice to be able to wonder through Central London when it’s this quiet. Samara remembers lunches and picnics between shows in Embankment Gardens, and many a day spent in the sun in the area with her cast mates and friends - summer in the city. “I love being busy, and I love being around people. I’m always up for a chat, over dinner or wine or a coffee.” 

Samara’s been trying to stay busy over this period as well. “I’m usually very active so I just tried to do things and use the time. We were so lucky with the summer, so there were a lot of bike rides and walks outside. I try to see my friends as much as I can, either in person in a socially distanced way, or over a call.” 


Since graduating from CPA Studios, it seems like Samara has not stopped, and since has been conquering stages in the West End and beyond. She spent 18 months in Germany, skating about in Starlight Express, was in Hairspray at Leicester Curve, and toured the UK with ‘Matilda’. Last year, she appeared in the Palladium Panto ‘Goldilocks & the Three Bears’. “I was supposed to do Panto in Manchester this year, but like so many things this year, this may now change”. The day we meet is the day that tiers are announced for the post-lockdown 2.0-period, with Manchester now in Tier 3. 

These constant changes and adaptations make it so hard for everyone who tries to get shows and concerts up and running, but at the same time we’re so glad to see people are not giving up trying. It’s a tough industry, it’s a resourceful industry. We just have to work with what we have. And this time is great to work on your craft, study, and also recharge. “We’re all determined, and passionate and love what we do, and I can’t wait to get back on a stage.” 

This article has been written by and photographed by Captured by Liz, published through Pocket Size Theatre. The article has been sponsored by Pointe & Flex Stationery.
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