Thursday, 27 May 2021

COMING HOME: Richard Carson, just reopened in 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!

Richard Carson is no stranger to Les Miserables, having been in the show previously at the Sondheim Theatre and in the concert production at the Gielgud theatre. He has played Combeferre whilst also covering the role of Javert and will return to the show in its West End home once again in the reopening. The concert production returned on the 20th May 2021 with an all-star cast, Richard included. 

A truly well-seasoned performer, Richard has had the pleasure of being in a wide variety of shows across his career; from classics like Oklahoma for the BBC at the Royal Albert Hall, the lead role of Sky in Guys and Dolls for the Mill at Sonning and the recent London Palladium revival production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to modern musical staples like covering Fiyero in Wicked on tour, playing Sky in Mamma Mia and even covering Chris in the revival of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. With this crazily impressive CV, he tells us of the importance of really relishing in each and every single moment; “the key will be to savour each moment that little bit more. Go out, see the world, see friends and family, and enjoy yourself.” A tip I think we all can learn from. This past year has been hard-hitting and we could all do with treasuring each moment we have a little bit more. 

As well as his wonderful career in musical theatre, Richard is also a personal trainer. As such, he has spent a lot of time over the past year training himself and others up. He tells us that it's actually been quite nice to not sing every day. For performers, it's important to maintain good vocal health as it's your main instrument when in a musical but it's actually been a welcome change for Richard. “It’s been different but definitely a learning curve.” 

A huge part of being a performer is building up a routine, with working mostly in the evenings this can be somewhat of a challenge. But Richard says its actually something he’s looking forward to having again. He also cannot wait to get back to telling stories and how he misses the excitement of live theatre: “What I miss most from an actors point of view is being able to tell stories again and get into a routine. And from an audience's point of view, it has to be the thrill of live theatre and rounds of applause!” 

This past year has given everyone a lot of time with themselves and hopefully, that has had a positive effect on some people. We’ve all grown over the past 12 months, Richard reflects on this and says “I’m a lot more independent and a lot more realistic now. I used to be super positive and optimistic, and it’s not that I’m not that anymore, I just have a spice of reality now. Sometimes it’s ok for things to be neutral or negative at times, and it’s important to acknowledge those shifts.” This is so important for all of us to sit with. Its wonderful to be full of optimism but also we can’t graze over those negatives, acknowledging them might help us grow further. 

As Richard said, he cannot wait to be back in a theatre and feel that thrill of live performance yet again. We asked him what show he would want to see once theatres are back open again and his answer was a show he is very familiar with, “I think it has to be Wicked. The iconic line of Glinda saying “it’s good to see me, isn’t it?” at the start of the show is going to have a certain ring to it this time around, and I imagine it’ll get quite the applause.” 

Les Miserables is a staple in the West End and it truly wouldn’t feel right without having it so the fact it was one of the first to reopen on the 20th May 2021 is so wonderful. Imagine just how electric that opening number will be in that theatre, hearing that live orchestra play those iconic numbers once again will be such an incredible experience. 

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