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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Outside the Spotlight: Recreating first steps with Joaquin Pedro Valdes | Captured by Liz


Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

We’re going back in time, as we take Joaquin’s first steps in London again. Up until theatres closed, he was part of the UK and International tour cast of The King and I in the ensemble, and first cover Lun Tha. In 2018, he joined the UK tour cast of Miss Saigon, covering the roles of The Engineer and Thuy - the job that brought him to the UK. He joined the tour in Manchester, and continued to travel around the country. 


“Getting that call from my agent was really a dream come true. In the Philippines, theatre is limited. There are productions happening, of course, but the West End and Broadway is just a different level.” Joaquin and his wife moved to the UK together, and in fact toured together. “It was amazing to be able to experience all these cities together. It brought us to places we never thought we’d go to!”
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Monday, 11 January 2021

Outside the Spotlight: Dreamy Battersea with Danielle Fiamanya | Captured by Liz


Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by
Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

It feels like we’re in Arendelle, as we’re wrapped up in big coats on a chilly December day. Battersea Park is looking cosy and crisp as I meet Danielle. Danielle graduated from The Guildford School of Acting in 2019, and went straight into playing Nettie in The Colour Purple at Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome, for which she received the 2019 Stage Debut award. She was in &Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre when the industry was forced to close down. “We were just down for our warm-up when we found out. I think we kind of knew it was coming, but it was still a shock.” 


Just a few days before, Danielle had made her 2nd cover debut in the show as Juliet, alongside Alex Tranter as Shakespeare and Dillion Scott-Lewis as Romeo. “We had some illnesses, holidays and injuries in the cast just before we closed. When I went on on the Wednesday, I only found out about it on the day. I had just been for a singing lesson, and then got a message from Jordan (Luke Gage) saying ‘I’m so sorry I’m not there, I’m so excited for you. Have the best time!.’ And I didn’t even know yet what was going on”, she laughs. 
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Monday, 28 December 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Reminiscing around the National with Nicholas McLean | Captured by Liz


Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

Grey concrete buildings melt into the grey sky on this wintery day, as we meet outside the closed National Theatre. Nick has a long connection to the iconic venue. “It really sparked my interest, and love, for theatre.” His secondary school had a great collaboration with the National, which enabled various school trips to see productions, as well as putting on shows as well. “I spent a lot of time here as a kid.” 


You can see how important and long lasting early exposure and involvement in theatre can be, as Nick went on to study at Mountview for three years and has quite a few shows under his belt now. When theatres were forced to close, Nick was part of WICKED in the West End, playing the role of Boq 8 shows a week. “I had actually been on holiday the week before, and we were all at the theatre when we got the news theatres would close. Broadway had obviously shut down already, so we knew it was coming, but it was still a weird feelings.” 
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Monday, 21 December 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Dreaming of Dreamgirls with Samara Casteallo | Captured by Liz


Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

We’re in the middle of the Strand, that’s illuminated in Christmas decorations and festive lights. Equipped with a warm coffee on this cold day, Samara meets me outside the Savoy Theatre. Before theatres went dark, Samara was just about to open in Tina The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, just a stone throw away from the Savoy. The cast were about to do their dress rehearsal ahead of their opening night, when the theatre was closed. 


Having made her West End debut in Dreamgirls, the Strand and Covent Garden area is like Samara’s second home. As we find ourselves outside the prestigious hotel and theatre exterior, she tells me about her time in Dreamgirls. “It was such an amazing time! It was my first West End show, so it will always have a special place in my heart.” I ask her about her opening night - the first night she stepped out onto that West End stage. “It was incredible. I can’t really describe it. The moment the curtain rises is like nothing else. I can’t put it into words. The adrenaline, just the overall feeling. You work so hard in rehearsals, and of course before that, and then to get to that point. It’s just incredible.” 
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Saturday, 5 December 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Seven Dials with Christina Shand | Captured by Liz


Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

It’s almost like meeting her in her backyard, as Christina knows every corner of Seven Dials in central London. Christina has spent many an hour in the area over the last couple of years. She was in 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and for the past three years has worked as an instructor at Digme Covent Garden (former Another Space). By the time we meet on a sunny Monday, she’s already taught two cycle classes in the studio, and has another one later on. “It helps me to switch off.”



As we wander around the narrow streets and flashy windows of Covent Garden, we stop every now and then, still surprised by how quiet it is in the usually busy area. “It’s so beautiful here, and there’s so much around”. Does she have a favourite shop in the area? “Not really. I love a coffee, and there are so many to choose from. But things around here can also change so quickly.” 

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Friday, 27 November 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Exploring Southwark with Alex Tranter | Captured by Liz

Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.

It’s a chilly but sunny October day in London. Alex, who was living his best life on stage at &Juliet every night before theatres went dark, takes another sip of his coffee, overlooking the River Thames. We’re just outside the National Theatre, around the corner from the Globe, surrounded by iconic buildings of the city, as he reflects on the memories associated with the South Bank and the area. “It’s my go to place. I just love it here”, he says are we’re strolling along the Thames. 



Alex trained at Italia Conti in London, just a stone throw away. They’d all spent quite some time across the river after long days of classes. “We always felt so fancy just going to the pub here by the river” he laughs. And still today, the area is his go to for a chilled beverage or a meal with his mates. It’s nice to know, some things never change.

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Friday, 20 November 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Music Memories with Vicki Manser | Captured by Liz

Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more.
 

It’s an exciting week for Vicki when we meet at Denmark Street in the middle of Central London. It’s the day “Could If I Wanted To”, her second single, got its first radio play. Vicki loves music, she loves her guitars, which is exactly why Denmark Street is one of her favourite spots in London. We wander past the music stores and shops, some open, some unfortunately closed this time. She talks about the time and memories she’s shared with the area, and there are a lot of them. “I’ve come here a lot over the years. I just love it.” 


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Friday, 13 November 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Barbican flair with Jed Berry | Captured by Liz



Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more

A quiet concrete oasis in the middle of the capital. Things have been busy for Jed, but a trip to the Barbican Centre helps to clear the mind and just breathe. “I love being in London. I moved back home for a while because I gave up my place here when I went on tour, but I recently got back for the show, and I’ve really missed it”, he says as we wander around the Centre trying not to get lost. When lockdown and the closure of theatres was announced, Jed was on tour around the UK with The Book of Mormon, which only started in June last year. Jed recently performed in Fanny and Stella at the Garden Theatre, Eagle London, a new open air venue in the specially renovated garden of The Eagle. In fact, Jed has been trying to keep busy all through lockdown working on an online cabaret with Kinky Boots Angels and Lola’s from all over the world and Jerry Mitchell, choreographer of Kinky Boots. The cabaret aired in July and raised money for Acting For Others, Broadway Cares Covid-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, Black Ticket Project and Broadway Advocacy Coalition. 

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