Wednesday, 19 May 2021

COMING HOME: Nuwan Hugh Perera, soon to open in Amélie the Musical at the Criterion 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! 

Making his West End debut in Amélie the musical, this break is a long time coming for Nuwan Hugh Perera. This time last year he was actually meant to be in the West End in a completely different show, The Life of Pi. Based on the award-winning novel and hit film, the play adaptation of The Life of Pi had previously played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to rave reviews and was due to transfer to the Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End in June 2020. It has since been announced that this will indeed still go ahead and will open in November 2021. But, with that well into the future, it's time for Nuwan to focus on his current project, Amélie the musical. 
Having previously been in the show on tour around the UK, Nuwan has also appeared in Side Show at the Southwark Playhouse, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Wilton’s Music Hall, played The Ghost of Christmas Present in The Christmas Carol at the Barn Theatre, in Godspell at G Live, in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again on screen and most recently, in the Fosse Forest Ballet online. 

Having been involved in the Fosse Forest Ballet, which was an online film that had stemmed from some viral videos from Choreographer Philip Joel, Nuwan reflects on how digital media has emerged with the theatre industry over the past year; "Thanks to digital media we've still been able to consume heaps of live entertainment. The medium already existed and it's obviously not the same as watching a live show. But I think potentially, it's something producers might think more about investing in the future.” He also tells us how he thinks this will affect the audition process going forward too, “Self-tapes and 'Zoom' are the way forward.” 

Last year, Nuwan joined the indie folk-rock band, Sleep Walking Animals. Alongside his fellow bandmates Jack Brett, Alex Harford, Tom Glynn-Carney and Joe Etherington, they have been busy recording music. Their third single, “Dance Laura Dance’, is out on the 21st May along with a full six-track EP coming this summer. A recent venture for him, he says “Hopefully, more people will listen to our music because there is so much more we want to share. Our dream is to play on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.” And we don’t have any doubt they’ll make it, with thousands of streams already we can’t wait to see where this group will go. 

Thinking about how everything is slowly starting to get back to some sort of normal, Nuwan tells us that he thinks it's very important that we are wary of not coming out of the same tunnel that we went in. So much has happened over the last 12 months that we must take that through and keep those lessons with us as we progress into this new world we’ll all be navigating through. “The whole world is different from what it used to be. And if there is anything that can make it better, it’s a hug. My advice always is to be kind, be generous, help each other. Peace and Love... is Love. Love is always the answer.” 

With Amélie opening at the Criterion Theatre on the 20th May 2021, Nuwan reflects on what the show means to him and what it could mean to an audience in 2021; “The last year has given 'Amélie' a whole new meaning. We've been lonely and isolated and now we are trying to find each other and reconnect. There is a special place in my heart for this show and company. It's inspired me and changed my life. As a whole, it feels bittersweet that we are coming back stronger than ever. I'm excited to be in one of the first shows reopening the West End.” 

With the opening of Amélie right around the corner, we asked Nuwan what other shows he’d be eager to go back and see the re-opening of, his answer being Come From Away. “We are reminded that kindness and generosity will always triumph over tragedy and darkness”, these are the lessons we must take forward. 

Amongst all the big shows returning and the buzz of the West End finally getting back, we must support and attend the new shows that are popping up. Amélie is an exciting new piece to London that has certainly proven its popularity with a UK Tour and run at Other Palace. If there's any time to take a chance on a new piece of theatre, it's now! 

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