Monday, 11 January 2021

Outside the Spotlight: Dreamy Battersea with Danielle Fiamanya | Captured by Liz

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It feels like we’re in Arendelle, as we’re wrapped up in big coats on a chilly December day. Battersea Park is looking cosy and crisp as I meet Danielle. Danielle graduated from The Guildford School of Acting in 2019, and went straight into playing Nettie in The Colour Purple at Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome, for which she received the 2019 Stage Debut award. She was in &Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre when the industry was forced to close down. “We were just down for our warm-up when we found out. I think we kind of knew it was coming, but it was still a shock.” 

Just a few days before, Danielle had made her 2nd cover debut in the show as Juliet, alongside Alex Tranter as Shakespeare and Dillion Scott-Lewis as Romeo. “We had some illnesses, holidays and injuries in the cast just before we closed. When I went on on the Wednesday, I only found out about it on the day. I had just been for a singing lesson, and then got a message from Jordan (Luke Gage) saying ‘I’m so sorry I’m not there, I’m so excited for you. Have the best time!.’ And I didn’t even know yet what was going on”, she laughs. 

“I got the phone call just as I got out of the tube station heading to the theatre” The show then staged some concert performances of the show due to not enough cast members in to perform the show in its entirety. In a way, it was a special ending to the week though. “The concerts were such an amazing experience as well. We just had the best time on those two days. Looking back now, it was a really nice way to round it off and end my journey with the show.” 

Danielle has since then been announced to join the cast of Disney’s Frozen as 1st cover Elsa, due to open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in April. I wonder if she’s excited? “I am so excited! We start rehearsals in a couple of months, and I can’t wait. We’ve done some Zoom call with the cast so we’ve virtually met already, and I have some friends in it as well.” Being a Disney production, we can expect big things for sure. “I’ve been in for a lot of costume fittings, and it’s unreal.”

As we wander around the greens and trees of Battersea Park, Danielle shares how she’s been keeping busy over this time. “It’s been so weird, hasn’t it. I think I’ve been lucky, because different people have recommended me for different things, so I’ve been doing some bits and bobs, like Hair or one-night concerts. And also just getting to do different things that normally, I wouldn’t have been able to do. Not just because of a pandemic, but because of other jobs that I would’ve been in. So that’s been such a blessing. And also just getting to know myself a bit better, and having time to take care of yourself as well.” 

Danielle admits that it was hard for her at first. “It took me a while to adjust and find motivation, but after a while I actually surprised myself with how many different things I can throw myself into. I really developed a love for cooking, and just fuelling my body with good things. Good food, some exercise, even if it’s just a walk along the river. I’ve also started journalling and it has really helped as well. Just the gift of time in general, and finding clarity in so many areas.” But we agree that there is nothing like being in a theatre with a full company and auditorium, and feeling that energy and joy. We will get there soon.

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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