Above: Backstage at the Duchess Theatre, photo courtesy of Tom Morley
In light of the recent World Theatre Day, I thought I’d write a post in celebration of one of my first true loves - and the reason I got into hair and make up in the first place - The Theatre!
For those of you that know me in person, you’ll probably have heard this story several of times (so thank you, for reading it again!), but I really have the theatre to thank for my career ascent into hairstyling and make up artistry. And it all began with a trip to see Jason Donovan in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, when I was just six.
Up until the age of 25, I was a semi-professional dancer, and the stage was like a second home to me. As a child I was obsessed with stage musicals, the West End and we would often save up to go and see magical musicals in London and take theatre trips. I think the transformative nature of the theatre is something that has long stayed with me after the greasepaint dried up! It’s completely immersive - whether you’re engrossed in a stage adaptation or dancing in the aisles to a musical, you are transported to another world within those beautiful theatre walls for a few hours and even the simplest of stage and set designs can be brought to life in intricate and exciting ways.
Above: Curtis Taylor-Tipton as Jekyll and Hyde, image courtesy of Gavin Mawditt
My stage background in various dance performances from a young age, left such an impression that I still cite my love of theatre as one of the main reasons I am a hair and make up artist today. Stage hair and make up always needs to be bigger, bolder, to perform well under harsh lighting and to characterise for even the most far away audience members. Theatre work gives me the chance to live big and experiment with different ways to make characters and their traits stand out on stage.
Above: Cast shots of Jekyll and Hyde by the People’s Theatre Company, 2016
Whilst I dabbled with stage hair and make up for many years as a dancer, my first opportunity to work backstage on a production of ‘Hairspray’ at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, when I was a level 3 Make Up Artistry student. My character was played by Hatty Hollowell - who has become a very good friend since and essentially the face of my brand since! Following on from that, I was made lead HMUA for a production of ‘Jekyll’ and Hyde’ which meant something a little more macabre and gothic (and, let’s face it, right up my street), followed by Make Up Designer for PTC’s Jesus Christ Superstar in 2016 - which also saw me return to the stage in the ensemble cast.
Below: PTC’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Paddy McCrystal as Jesus and John Gill as Herod - photo courtesy of Gavin Mawditt
Whilst I work less on theatre productions these days, I am a huge advocate for the arts and am proud to be Blind Eye Theatre Company’s In-House Hair and Make Up Artist! After we worked our magic on ‘The Boy Who Fell Into A Book’ at the New Arts Theatre in 2017, when Blind Eye was in its infancy, the company went on to put on their own (almost sold out) production of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ at the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton - which I was privileged to work on again! It was especially challenging and fun to age and ‘grotesque’ actor Frazer Stanko, who played the role of the painting itself. ‘Dorian Gray’ is such a gothic masterpiece, there was plenty of darkening under the eyes and ageing involved with most actors - many of whom played dual roles.
Above: Frazer Stanko’s transformation as the picture of Dorian Gray, and some of the make up technique close-ups of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Blind Eye Productions, 2018 - scroll right!
My love for theatre has continued well into adulthood, though I do love to be able to watch performances from the audience these days too! Recently, I took Daisy to see Nottingham Operatic’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat - and I am pleased to say the cycle is very much continuing!
I’m excited for some more really exciting theatre projects coming up later in the year - keep it here for more info and may I wish you all a very happy World Theatre Day!
Stay Peachy x