We speak with student-favourite Musical Theatre Class leader Katie Pritchard.
Multi-instrumentalist, comedian, singer and West End actress, Katie fills us in on what it is like working on the West End.
1. When did you start performing?
I had my first acting job at 6months. Playing the Baby Jesus in the Nativity. And the reviews were great! But I continued on performing. I’d say that I properly got into performing when I was about 6 years old. Performing at Kingsbury Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS), as well as part of my dance school. And at age 6 was when I decided to upgrade myself from learning Recorder to Flute. I then had the pleasure of working with Chicken Shed Theatre Company at school, and I immediately knew I wanted to do performing for life. So I signed up to the (very very long) waiting list. And when I was 9, I managed to get a space at the prestigious theatre group. Their ethos was all about the inclusion of all children, no matter who they were, and no matter if they were disabled or not. Everyone worked together to create brilliant shows all year round. I was at Chicken Shed Theatre Company for about 10 years, where I must have performed in roughly 30 different shows across my time there. I loved it! I was in the band. I got to teach the 5-8 year olds when I was old enough. And I also got to run workshops for the toddlers. It was a fantastic place to grow creatively. In this time, I also completed my GCSE’s and ALevels, and had my place at University to go and Study a BA (HONS) in Musical Theatre. So, long story short, I started performing at 6 months old, and I’ve never really stopped! I love it!!
2. What was it like performing on the West End?
Well, the West End was a dream come true for me! I had always dreamt of performing on a West End stage, and so achieving that dream at such a young age was awesome! It never felt like work to me, to get up on that stage and perform my show, I had so much fun each and every time! There is nothing like the buzz of performing live on stage. And especially after our finale, it was the greatest adrenaline rush ever. I would say it has to be a highlight of my career so far, definitely.
“The West End was a dream come true for me!”
3. You are a multi-instrumentalist. What do you like about music? Do you think it is important to learn an instrument?
I think learning an instrument was important for me, because I definitely need a creative output. I have always been a singer. Singing all the time as a toddler and child. I then got the chance to learn the Recorder, which I loved. And then one day, I found a flute in the loft when I was doing some investigating, and managed to convince my parents to pay for Flute lessons. They then also signed me up for Piano and Violin lessons. I had asked about Harp lessons, but I think I was pushing my luck there! I think everyone needs a creative outlet, especially as a child, be it instrument lessons, dance classes, a sports club, learning languages or maths classes. We each have something that we love and enjoy, for me it was music. Music is quite special, in that it can bring people together. The most unlikely of people. And I love that music can do that. And I love that I get to give people the opportunity to perform music themselves (through teaching), or that I can bring people together at a gig or in a show through music that is made. So…yeah…I love music. #MusicGeek
4. Why do you love teaching?
I love teaching because I enjoy watching people when they discover that they can do something. When people go out of their comfort zone and create some wonderful music, and look surprised at what they’ve just achieved. Music is all about working with people, connecting people, and creating something. And if I get to show someone new to an instrument, or singing, how to do that. Then it’s a double bonus for me!
“I love teaching because I enjoy watching people when they discover that they can do something. When people go out of their comfort zone and create some wonderful music.”
5. You run our musical theatre class, how would you describe it?
Erm…Fun? It’s basically my idea of having fun hanging out with people, singing our favourite show songs, and then learning a dance to that song. Watching people come alive to perform a piece that we do in class is brilliant fun! And because performing can often push us really far out of our comfort zones – especially if our day job is something quite solitary – then it makes it even more fun. We’re all in it together. And we all have such a fun time learning everyone’s favourite songs from Musicals and working on how to perform them. The operative word here is fun. I like to have fun, and I like a nice and friendly environment in which to have that fun!!
6. Whats your favourite performance job and why?
I’ve got to be honest, at the moment, I do a lot of Musical Comedy, and I absolutely love it! To make an audience laugh because of a lyric you’ve written is like nothing else!! So well up on the list has to be Musical Comedy. Nothing gives me more adrenaline than making an audience laugh. I also loved my stint in the West End on “Dreamboats and Petticoats”. I think about it most days, and just think to myself “Woah, I managed to achieve my childhood dream of being in a West End Show by the age of 23”. I will never take that for granted, and I think of that job with a lot of fondness (and shock that they let me loose on the west end) but mostly fondness!!