Thursday, 7 February 2013

Interview: Emma Hatton, currently in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre

Emma Hatton is currently in the West End production of We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, understudying the roles of Scaramouche and Meat. 

Emma is originally from Gloucestershire and trained at the Jane Jarrett School of Dance from the age of three. After graduating from Loughborough University with a degree in Sport Science and English, she went on to train at London School of Musical Theatre where she graduated with distinction.

Emma's theatre credits include: A Comedy of Eric's (New Vic, Stoke); Dreamboats and Petticoats (Savoy and Playhouse theatres, West End and UK tour); Heaven Sent (New Wimbledon Theatre); Uncle Eric's White Christmas (New Vic, Stoke); Darling of the Day (Ondaatje Theatre, London); Hold Tight It's 80s Night (Creative Fabriek, Hengelo); When Midnight Strikes (Chelsea Theatre and Finborough Theatre, London); Cinderella (Harlequin Theatre, Redhill); and Christmas in New York (Apollo Theatre,West End).

Last week I caught up with Emma to talk about all things We Will Rock You, her upcoming charity gig and her dream roles...

Are you enjoying your time in We Will Rock You?
I absolutely love it! I’m in the middle of my second contract now meaning I’ll be with the show until at least the beginning of October so I’ve still got quite a lot of time left in this contract which is really nice. It is such a fun show to be part of. We Will Rock You is a very well oiled machine – it’s in its eleventh year. As cast members we get treated really well, obviously the music is fantastic.

You recently took over as first cover Scaramouche and Meat - what is it like playing two amazing roles? 
I'm very lucky to cover the two female leads. Last year I was just second cover Scaramouche but this year it is even more exciting to be first cover Scaramouche and Meat because it feels like I get to do three different shows... which keeps me on my toes! It’s challenging so I have to look after myself and keep healthy.

How does playing Scaramouche compare to playing Meat? 
They are two incredible roles but both are very different. Scaramouche has always been a dream role. I auditioned for We Will Rock You for five years before I even got cast as second cover Scaramouche. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard work understudying both roles. Vocally they are two demanding roles. Scaramouche in particular is quite a difficult character to get your head around because she’s got to be quite tough, witty and sarcastic but she’s also got an endearing side so the audience end up loving her. She has a lot of funny one liners so during cover runs when we don’t have the audience there to laugh it can feel disheartening. I didn’t cover Meat last year, I had auditioned for her but never got offered the cover. I am so relieved that the characters have different accents because otherwise during the scenes between Scaramouche and Meat I would get very confused as to which character I was playing. I always have to go through a couple of dance routines before I go on as each character because they are similar, yet one will jump up at one point. Obviously there have been a few occasions where I’ve sung the wrong line, sung the wrong harmonies or done the other character’s dance move but they were just a few teething problems. It’s such a great challenge and allows me to show off my versatility 

We Will Rock You is currently in its eleventh year. Why do you think it is such a popular show? 
I think a lot of people come for the music so not a day goes by where you don’t get a massive buzz during the finale. Even if people don’t necessarily realise that they like Queen they probably know all the songs. Since being cast in We Will Rock You I’ve realised that Queen music is everyone, it’s always used on adverts and so on. I loved it when Brian May and Roger Taylor came in to work with us, for them it’s not work, they absolutely love it which really rubs off on the cast and audience. Also people have told me that they don’t usually like musicals but love We Will Rock You. It’s not traditional musical theatre, it’s a good fun jukebox musical with a great storyline and an amazing live band who are all hard core rockers! It’s a very special show to be part of and I love seeing the audience response every night. 

What are the rest of the cast like to work with? 
It’s a great cast to be a part of, about 50% of the cast left last year and this year I think we have a slightly younger cast. They’re all really inspiring to work with. Everyone is so dedicated and very professional. We have a wardrobe area backstage where we get changed throughout the show – we call it Wardrobe Village. Some days you go in there and everyone is quietly their phones or reading books, other days you go in and people are putting on crazy performances, one guy is always doing impressions of Cher - it is constantly entertaining. We all feel like part of a family. This year we have a couple of cast members who are great at organising social events so we’ve gone bowling and had quiz nights. It has been so lovely as we didn’t really do that last year. You’ve got to let your hair down sometimes - work hard, play hard! 

When did you first decide that you wanted to be an actress? 
I went to University and got a degree but always had a strong interest in amateur dramatics and did a bit of song writing. Straight after uni I got a job but eventually decided to take a gap year to pursue what I love – musical theatre. I went to drama school and did a twelve month course – it was the best year of my life. I got an agent straight away. I was very lucky to fall into jobs. Then I took a bit of a break from musical theatre until, ironically, I went to see We Will Rock You. I cried all the way through it! I realised that I wasn’t ready to give up. Then I got cast in Dreamboats and Petticoats and had an amazing time. Then Dreamboats came into the West End. I had nine months off and then got offered We Will Rock You! 

What else are you up to at the moment? 
I’m organising a charity gig which will be at Battersea Barge on 24th March called Songs From The Heart. It will be an all female line up and in aid of the British Heart Foundation; I’m also running the marathon for them later this year. The line up is great and includes the likes of Katie Paine, Jodie Jacobs and many more. It’s going to be a very relaxed gig and the girls and I will all be singing songs which mean something to us. 

Are there any roles you would like to play or shows you would like to be part of in the future? 
Gosh – there are lots! I would love to get my teeth into Scaramouche, playing her full time. I know I’m not quite ready yet but one day I would like to play Elphaba in Wicked. The Narrator in Joseph... but to be honest you never know what roles are going to come up! I would also be interested in doing some recording work and maybe some TV and radio, I’m very happy where I am now but who knows?! 

Finally, what would you like to say to everyone who has supported you throughout your career? 
Where do I start? I think it is very important to remember who you were before you got success and who helped to get you there, unfortunately a lot of people forget that. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for my incredible family and friends who are all very supportive. They’ve picked me up when I’ve been low and come to watch the very worst things I’ve been in and told me it was great even though I knew it was dreadful. I would not be where I am now if I hadn’t had so many amazing people behind me – so thank you!

Follow Emma on Twitter: @emmahatton1

Interviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Click here to check out West End Frame's special We Will Rock You ticket offer!

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