Saturday, 12 June 2021

COMING HOME: Liam Dean, about to head out on tour with Hairspray

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! 

Before the pandemic, Liam Dean’s career in theatre was really kick-starting. Having only just graduated in 2019, Liam joined the touring cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert as a swing and also had another job, the touring production of Hairspray, on the horizon. Joining Priscilla in February meant his time with the show was cut incredibly short and his next venture was also in jeopardy. But after a long year, things are starting to look much better. We met with Liam at the Shaftsbury Theatre, the original home to Hairspray when it made its London debut!

Although the tour of Priscilla will start up again, Liam will finally be joining the Hairspray tour playing Fender and also covering Corny Collins. Although he is sad to be leaving the Priscilla bus behind, he moves onto another one of his dream jobs and can’t wait to see his fellow Queens fly the flag around the UK. “This show (Priscilla) will always have a special place in my heart and I would love to see the show back up and running and see all my colleges from that show giving the incredible performances I got to witness!”

Over the pandemic, Liam has definitely had his fair share of jobs to see him through. From being a Nanny to working at Clapham Grand, a short-lived restaurant job and has most recently been working with a London based Salon on their business and branding. It’s safe to say Liam has developed so many other skills over this last year and his attitude is so positive in that, telling us how it's developed himself in ways that he probably wouldn’t have done if not for the pandemic. “I've worked in jobs I've never done before, I've met amazing people I would have never met and I've gained experiences that wouldn't have come my way if it wasn't for the pandemic and I am grateful for that. If anything it's just taught me to think on my feet and to be prepared for constant change.” This is something we should all take forward from this past year, anything can be taken away from you in a second so we must be constantly challenging ourselves and be prepared for anything. 

Liam really emphasises how he will never take performing for granted again; “I am going to make the most of every opportunity possible and perform every show like it is my last!” Performing can be such a consuming industry and if anything, this past year has proved how vital and versatile performers are. “Last year, when shows closed, myself and many others found ourselves in a situation saying 'what do we do now?' I have learnt through this pandemic that there is actually plenty of other things I am able to do and should always be prepared for the worst.” 

Talking to Liam about the changes and issues that have been raised and highlighted over the past year, he says that we shouldn’t be relying on people ‘at the top’ to make the changes and we should continue to strive for representation and inclusivity. “I feel we need to make sure we continue having an open, honest and helpful discussion to encourage these people in power to make the necessary changes.” He also talks to us about how he’s learnt that this industry is certainly not for the faint-hearted but this doesn't mean that we shouldn’t priorities peoples mental health. This has been an ongoing discussion for a while now and even though we’re seeing some important changes within our industry, there's still a long way to go to create a safe space for people. 

Liam has described Hairspray to be one of his dream jobs and we have no doubt he’ll be absolutely wonderful in the show. The show holds such an important message that we can all learn from right now but it also will be the perfect show for the escapism we all need, we cannot wait to hear that overture taking over an auditorium and captivating audiences across the UK. 

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