Friday, 16 July 2021

COMING HOME: Chiarina Woodall, soon to be back in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria 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! 

The smash-hit of this century is undoubtedly Wicked. The untold story of Oz follows the back story of the witches of OZ and is filled with tunes you will be belting out in the shower. If you’ve not already seen this show, where have you been?! Celebrating 15 years in London’s West End this autumn and 18 years on Broadway, the show has seen many international productions including numerous UK tours. A story that everyone connects to and with music by Stephen Schwartz, this show is a musical theatre staple and the West End just wouldn’t be the same without that green witch. 

A dream show for many, Chiarina Woodall appears in the ensemble of the show and was before theatres shut back in March 2020. She is returning to the show when it reopens on the 15th September 2021, almost 18 months after she last appeared in the show. She tells us she cannot wait to get back and perform the show to an audience once again, “Wicked is an incredible show, something I've always wanted to do. Being able to entertain and inspire people is so rewarding for me.” 

As well as appearing in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre since 2018, Chiarina has also worked extensively with Secret Cinema, having featured in their productions of Moulin Rouge, Dirty Dancing and 28 Days Later. She has also danced for Demi Lovato as well as appearing in Bear Grylls ‘Endeavour’ and Date 1-10 at the Landor Theatre. 

Speaking to Chiarina about what she’s been up to during this downtime, it's clear she has certainly used the time for good and reflection. Improving her performance skills with acting classes and branching into different dance styles, she has also been offering online workshops and has been working as a personal trainer. Looking back on the person she was before the pandemic, she tells us that she realised she wasn’t taking enough time for herself or her happiness, “The way I was living was unsustainable. I've made a lot of simple changes which I hope to carry into my daily practice once we have developed an easier rhythm into normal life. I feel connected to myself more than ever.” 

Chiarina has some very interesting observations on the lessons we have learnt over this pandemic, telling us that humans are social creatures and how this situation has made us recognise where we belong and who or what is important to us. “We need to be part of a community, a tribe, and I believe the pandemic forced us to identify who those people are and allowed us to reconnect and appreciate people so much more.” She tells us that she’s been making small changes to her life over the pandemic to improve her own existence but also to improve and develop the community to which she belongs for the sake of future generations. “We were forced to unite and we must carry that forwards. By continuing to discuss and remember the struggles and lessons we have learned during this pandemic that brought us together will allow us to support and show up for each other.” 

We asked Chiarina what advice she would offer to those now that theatre is reopening and she encourages people to explore their creativity and doing things that make you feel happy, improving on new and old skills whilst also delving into new interests. In saying this, she also puts emphasis on the fact that we shouldn’t be putting that extra stress of these things on ourselves, simply enjoy them and allow ourselves to go on that journey. “Don’t try to be perfect and rush the process, allow for good days and bad days. You don't need any extra pressure when being in this industry already applies so much.” 

Chatting about the return of theatre, we talked about what shows we would love to see and Chiarina answered pretty quickly; “Six! For sure. I love the concept of queens uniting and being strong females! Being a part of that would be incredibly powerful and liberating.” And we couldn’t agree more, we should all be releasing our inner feminist and there isn’t a better show to feel empowered by women than the incredible Six the musical. 

Wicked reopens its green doors on the 15th September 2021, this musical is truly wonderful and just imagine the reaction to Glinda's first line “It’s good to see me, isn’t it?”. Chiarina will be back in the show upon its return and we cannot wait to head back and see this incredible cast in this spellbinding show! 

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