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Interview: Emma Hatton, Elphaba in Wicked

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“There comes a point when you realise that performing is the thing that makes you happiest. And the fact that I am able to make a living out of it makes me feel incredibly lucky.”

A fortnight after beginning her stint in one of London theatre’s most coveted leading roles, Elphaba in the Apollo Victoria’s mega-hit Wicked, we caught up with former Loughborough student Emma Hatton to talk about being green, Defying Gravity and graduating from am-dram to the West End stage.

What particular song are you most excited about performing as the new Elphaba?

Although getting to sing the iconic Defying Gravity is always exciting and a real privilege, my favourite song to perform is No Good Deed as it comes at such an emotionally wrought time in the show. As both an actress and a singer, you can let rip! It's so cathartic!

Traditionally Elphaba is considered to be the wicked witch of Oz, but Wicked is all about defying the stereotype. What characters in the musical do you consider to be 'wicked', if any?

I like to believe that no-one is 'wicked' to the core. That doesn't mean that some of the characters don't display some pretty terrible behaviour! But it's always nice to try and look for a reason as to why people are behaving that way!

How long typically does it take for you to get ready for a performance?

Usually, I start getting ready at around 5:45pm for an evening performance. The makeup and wigs take around 45 minutes in total and then we have physical and vocal warm-ups.

What has been your most memorable moment on stage thus far in your career?

There are so many, it’s hard to single one out - but there have been some pretty emotional moments during the flying section of Defying Gravity, particularly when I have family in watching.

Were you always interested in acting? What inspired you to pursue this career?

I've always done Am Dram and was in school productions at school. I just loved it but I always had other career options that were a 'safer bet'. But there comes a point when you realise that performing is the thing that makes you happiest. And the fact that I am able to make a living out of it makes me feel incredibly lucky.

If you were able to perform in any musical, past or present, which would you choose?

Right now, I am still pinching myself that I am able to perform the role of Elphaba in Wicked. But there is one still high up there on the bucket list... I would love to have a crack at Eva Peron in Evita.

Have you had any experience in film or television? If so, how different is it to performing live on stage each night?

I've yet to dip my toes into TV and film. I've done a spot of presenting but I would love to do a TV programme or a film. From the courses I've done, it is so different though! Much more natural.

Describe your Wicked character in one word.

Loyal.  

What are the three skills or abilities you believe an aspiring actor/actress needs to have to be successful on stage?

Confidence

Versatility

Tenacity

What advice would you give to young people interested in a career on stage?

Work hard and be nice! Don't take things personally... you will inevitably face knock backs but use these as a chance to thicken your skin and improve.

Do you have any rituals or habits that help you prepare for an evening on stage?

Not as such. I just try and make sure I'm as relaxed as possible and that I've gone through any notes I've had from my creative team. 

WICKED, the award-winning classic musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is now in its 9th hit year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre and is the 10th longest-running show in the West End.

www.WickedTheMusical.co.uk 

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