Monday, 17 May 2021

COMING HOME: Kelly Agbowu, soon to go back to Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back!

A visit to the Sondheim Theatre with the incredibly talented and infectiously smiley Kelly Agbowu was just what we needed on this busy Saturday in London. Having joined the cast of Les Miserables in 2019 fresh from her run in the West End premiere of Waitress, she is one of the few people to say she has appeared in the full production at the Sondheim and in the concert version! Whilst she appears in the ensemble of the show, she also covers Madame Thenardier. Having only performed the role for one day, she can’t wait to get back and give the character another stab. 

Before being a part of Les Miserables, Kelly played Nurse Norma and was covering the role of Becky in the original West End production of Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre. Prior to that she had also appeared in The Wizard of Oz at the Birmingham Rep, in the West End production of The Book of Mormon, on the international tour of The Lion King and RENT at the Greenwich Theatre. 

Whilst looking forward to her return to the West Ends longest-running musical, she has been keeping busy over the past year. With her voice over work keeping her going and doing some commercials, she has also worked on the Treason: A New Musical cast recording, appeared at the West End Drive-in and performed at G-A-Y. Not long after our shoot she headed out to Peterborough to take part in the workshop of the new musical version of The Danish Girl and looking forward she will be performing at the West End Live Lounge on the 14th June 2021 and performing in her first-ever solo concert ‘Let's go to the Movies’ at the Crazy Coqs on the 16th August 2021. 

It's clear that Kelly is someone who likes to keep busy but when talking about what she’s learnt about herself over the past year, she emphasises how important it is to pause and take everything in; “I've learnt to slow down and enjoy the really small things. I used to fill my days with tasks and things to do and burn out constantly whilst missing life as it passed me by. But now I can find joy and contentment in the smallest of tasks and feel just as fulfilled.” 

One thing that Kelly feels strongly about is the importance of looking after your own mental health. She talks about how trying and testing this past year has been and that if we’ve learnt anything it should be to give ourselves a break. “Be kind to yourself. I, for one, personally have been catching myself beating myself up over weight gain and stamina loss but these things can be trained and will come back with time. Your mental health and happiness are most important.” 

We spoke to Kelly about some of the issues that are in the theatre industry, things that have been brought out into the open over the past year. The advice she gives is “moving forward we need to stick together in matters of importance for all. Not just if that particular issue affects you directly, but even if it doesn’t. An issue for one is an issue for all.” This is so important to remember as we’re trying to rebuild this industry to be a safe and exciting place for everyone. We’re doing that all together for the sake of our fellow artists and art lovers, we’re absolutely all in this together. 

When we asked Kelly what show she’d like to see upon its return, she did have some trouble choosing but came to a decision: Come From Away. “The lyrics are so powerful and I can’t seem to ever get through the soundtrack without crying.” She also mentions she needs to get tickets to see & Juliet when it comes back having almost booked for a matinee right before theatres shut their doors back in March 2020. 

Les Miserables is a staple in the West End, it's fitting that it's one of the first shows to reopen as I’m not sure London would feel the same without it. Kelly is super excited to get back to the Sondheim Theatre but also says she wishes she could “be a fly on the wall in every theatre on their opening night.” Les Miserables - the staged concert returns to the West End on the 20th May 2021. 

Want to sponsor this article? We have business opportunities available, just get in touch and drop us a line at 
Blog Design by pipdig