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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.” 

Thursday, 18 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Samara Casteallo

These recent times have been some of the hardest challenges we've faced and as a community, it hit us pretty hard. However during these difficult times, here at Pocket Size Theatre, we wanted to spread a little positivity and share some peoples experiences because we are all in this together. Each day we'll be speaking to our friends in the industry to share their experiences with you all so take a read and see how people are getting through these hard times.

Let's stick together, share the love and get through this as a community! 

*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation. Please keep that in mind when reading*

Samara Casteallo is currently appearing in the London production of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre. Her other credits include Ensemble and cover Mummy Bear in Goldilocks & the Three Bears(The London Palladium); Covering Mrs Wormwood & Mrs Phelps in Matilda The Musical  (UK tour); the original Cast of Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre), Cover Pearl in Starlight Express (Bochum, Germany); Little Inez in Hairspray (Leicester Curve) and Mother Goose (Hackney Empire). 

On Monday 16th March 2020, The Society of London Theatre announced the closure of all Theatres in London. This followed suit with regional venues. Where were you when you found out and what was your initial reaction?

We were about to do our dress run at ‘Tina Turner the Musical’ at the Aldwych theatre at 7pm. Whilst we were on our break and getting ready; we were already aware of a global pandemic coming forth; I was very unsure if we were going to open on the Tuesday. I was saddened to think that after 5 solid weeks of hard work we wasn’t going to make opening night. Some colleagues of mine were about to make their West-End debuts. There was excitement and worry in the building and then we had a call on the tannoy telling us to come down to the stage for a meeting. We knew what was to come, but for everyone’s health and safety and after the government announced that ‘everyone should avoid restaurants and theatres’, we were to follow instructions and leave the theatre, clear out what we had just unpacked. In tears, however only to hope that our show will manage to stay strong and re-open.

Can you tell us anything productive you’ve been doing?

I’ve been doing my script/cover work, learning lines and going over choreography as I cover Tina Turner and Aline. I started to go for jogs to clear my mind the first few weeks, it managed to make me feel like I had a schedule. Especially after working 10-10 trying to put a show on, my body couldn’t just stop straight away. I manage to find a HIIT class at 12pm everyday my beautiful friend Annie Kitchen has on Instagram, that I would 100% recommend. I’m usually very active and pro-active, I tend to never stop so some days during, these weird times, I’d just meditate or take a few moments to stop, read and relax. I haven’t stopped moving and working since 2010, so this time is needed.
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