Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Interview: Katy Osborne, currently in Mamma Mia

As well as working as a swing in Mamma Mia, Katy Osborne is currently busy organising a charity concert entitled ‘The Philippine Dream’.

Taking place at the Leicester Square Theatre this Sunday (17th August), The Philippine Dream will see performances from West End stars including Summer Strallen, Dianne Pilkington, Charlotte Riby, Alicia Beck, Tyrone Huntley and Harry Francis as well as Anton du Beke, the West End Frame Award winning Daniel Buckley and Miss Saigon’s Hugh Maynard and Rachelle Ann Go who will perform a special duet with Blake.

The concert is raising money for abandoned and abused orphans in Manila. All proceeds will go directly towards the building of a brand new Arts Centre at the Tuloy Foundation, with the potential for a small theatre to be built, allowing young children the opportunity to perform and showcase their talents. The Orphanage is keen for performing to be a part of their schooling as it has such a positive effect on many of the young people, bringing confidence, self-discovery, pride and joy into their daily lives.

Katy’s theatre credits include: swing in We Will Rock You (original cast, Cologne), Ensemble in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour), Ensemble in Hello, Dolly! (UK Tour/Theatre Royal, Lincoln), first cover Lisa in Mamma Mia (International Tour), Ensemble in The Bet (Criterion), featured soloist in West End Laine (Aldwych) and Wendy in Peter Pan (Richmond).

Katy speaks to West End Frame about why she’s organising The Philippine Dream, what people can expect from the evening and life in Mamma Mia…

There is so much excitement surrounding The Philippine Dream. Are you pleased with how the show is coming together? 
Yes I am incredibly thrilled with the progress for The Philippine Dream; some wonderful performers are working very hard to make this a very special evening!

Earlier this year you spent two weeks volunteering at an orphanage in Manila, teaching workshops to enrich and nourish the children aged between 8-18 through musical theatre. What was the experience like? It must have been mind-blowing?
My experience with the children at the Orphanage was indeed mind-blowing. What struck me most was the bravery and enthusiasm in welcoming a teacher who doesn't speak their language to help them discover themselves through musical theatre. They have had unimaginable upbringings yet their excitement for life inspired me daily.

Following your return you personally raised an astonishing £5000 for the charity and then Cameron Mackintosh donated a further £1000 to the foundation. On top of that you also organised the hugely successful ‘West End Sports Day'! You must be incredibly proud of your achievements?
The money raised has been astronomical. I've been so surprised at how these projects that started only as a dream have taken off. I never imagined I would be able to help in this way.

What do you think people can expect from The Philippine Dream? You have a magnificent line-up!
The Philippine dream will provide an evening of pure entertainment and raw talent! People can expect beautiful voices, lots of personality, some glamour, some fun and most of all - as you said - a magnificent line up!

Can you give us any hints as to what some of the performers could be singing?
'Um.... hints… I suppose the only one I'm prepared to give is that Alicia Beck and Dianne Pilkington are in the same number. Can you work out the connection…?!

Balancing eight shows a week with organising a cabaret on top of your continued fundraising must be exhausting! Do you ever stop to breathe?
[laughs] Not really! Since starting the organisation of West End Sports Day it hasn't really stopped… apart from a few surprises for my 30th birthday last week! In all honesty the hard work was worth it, I never dreamed of this success!

How’s life in Mamma Mia? Is it a fun show to be part of? 
Mamma Mia is my very own dream come true. It's a ridiculously fun job and life as a swing is always exciting. I love working in London and the whole company have been so supportive throughout this experience.

Imagine you had to go to a desert island and could only take three musical theatre songs with you. Which three would you take and why?
That’s hard! Ok… Crazy For You is my all-time favourite musical as myself and my Dad would sing the whole soundtrack on long car journeys so I would have to take 'Slap That Bass'. Next I would take ‘Astonishing’ from Little Women because I'm one of three sisters so the show touches my heart and the song gives me a boost if I'm 'feeling the pressure'. My final choice is a silly but fun one… the finale megamix from Starlight Express! It's outrageous but would make me smile as Starlight Express was the first musical I ever saw!

Finally, what would you like to say to all those who have supported your incredible charity work so far?
The love and gratitude I have towards every single person who has donated their time, support or money is overwhelming, I never know how to fully express my thanks. Harry Francis has made this Cabaret possible, he has been a rock and a friend throughout. All in all, the kindness I'm receiving from everyone is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. Thank you! 

Interview by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Philippine Dream takes place at the Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday 17th August 2014 at 7.30pm. Please visit for further information and tickets.

Mamma Mia is currently booking at the Novello Theatre until Saturday 25th April 2015.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

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