Wednesday, 14 July 2021

COMING HOME: Christopher Tendai, last seen in Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre and Artistic Director of Dance Company CTC

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! 

An up and coming choreographer and creative himself, as well as an accomplished West End performer, Christopher Tendai was appearing in the London production of Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre. Appearing in the ensemble and covering the role of Rudolpho before the theatres shut their doors back in March 2020. Over the pandemic, he has been keeping himself very productive with his creative work but he also went on to appear in the National Theatres pantomime, Dick Whittington, in December. He was the Dance Captain and Swing on the show but the run was short-lived due to London being moved into tier 4. 

After Matilda and Dick Whittington being cut short for Christopher, he has been through his fair share of disappointments through this but he remains positive, telling us that if he could give out a piece of advice to people it would be “to take each day at a time. Don’t beat yourself up if your body takes longer to get back to where it was. We have all suffered trauma over this pandemic so make sure to be kind to yourself.” 

The shoot with Christopher took place in Regent’s Park, a place he is very familiar with after appearing as a swing in the 2017 production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He’s also appeared in many other shows, including In The Heights at the Kings Cross Theatre where he was a swing and covered the role of Benny, the original West End cast of Hamilton, the 2019 production of West Side Story at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, Loserville at the Union Theatre, Damn Yankees at the Landor Theatre and Hairspray at the Cork Opera House in Ireland. 

As well as being a regular West End Wendy, he runs his own dance company called CTC. He founded CTC in 2017 and through the company has performed at the London Palladium, collaborated with the Universal Music Group and have even had their own show, Identity, transfer to London’s Turbine Theatre from the Edinburgh Fringe. 

The company want to take their audience on an emotional journey and whilst they aim to entertain people they also work closely with the topic of mental health. They want to educate people on the topic and like to demonstrate that it can be a positive subject by allowing us to know our strengths and therefore find our authentic selves. 

Reflecting back on what we have learnt from the past year, Christopher talks about how important it is for performers to understand their own self-worth. Being a teacher himself, he emphasises the importance of performers and creatives not feeling pressured to take any jobs and making sure that what they take will be beneficial to them. “A big thing moving forward is to make sure performers understand the business they are going into and can make the right decisions for them, weighing all the options of payment and further opportunities down the line.” 

Another thing he talks about is the lack of diversity that we are seeing within the theatre industry, not only in casts of shows that we see on stage but in the roles behind the scenes as well, “We have to address the diversity of ethnicities not only in shows but in creative teams. Having 1 or 2 people isn’t enough. There are so many artists of colour that are talented and intelligent and shouldn’t be overlooked because the ‘ethnic box’ has been ticked.” 

Looking forward to theatres re-opening, Christopher tells us that his show of choice would have to be Anything Goes which will be playing at the Barbican this summer, opening on the 23rd July 2021, and we couldn’t agree with him more. What a wonderful stagey show to kick start the West Ends lights being turned on again! 

We cannot wait to see Christopher back in a show, he is an incredibly talented performer and we also are super excited to see where his Dance company, CTC, goes next. The future is looking bright for this young creative and we are excited to follow his journey further. 

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