Interview: Zoe Birkett

Interview: Zoe Birkett

How are rehearsals going? It looks like you’re having a blast from your Instagram!

Yeah its going really well. We’ve just done a run through of act one and it’s looking fantastic. Because I never got to see it in the west end, I’m coming to it with completely fresh eyes and a completely different view to people in the cast who may have seen it before. So I’m sat at the sides literally laughing out loud to myself. I think it’s probably good for the director because he can gage what does and doesn’t work. The obvious rock anthems are fabulous of course. It’s got a great story line, and it’s just so funny.

How are you finding the dancing side of the show?

Unfortunately my number is set around poles, and the girls around me are pole dancing. I’m not pole dancing and I won’t lie, I am gutted about it! Last week, all the girls went to this awesome pole dancing lesson and I was like “ohhh, why aren’t I going!”. I’m the diva at the front who has to sell the song but I also want to be on a pole so bad. I’m going to try and test the poles out before every show, and then after 6 weeks if they need someone, I’ll be able to go on and cover!

What’s your favourite part of the show?

“Dead or alive” is phenomenal. The show has some naughty moments in it, and in this you’re like wow! It’s so sexy and fun. I love my number because the girls are on poles, they have these incredible shoes that are all different colours. The opening is great too!

Your costumes must be incredible?!

I’ve got one costume. It’s enough though! Its fierce. Mine has been hand made from scratch. The designer got the material from America whilst he was going Saigon on Broadway! I have an amazing diva wig with some purple thigh high boots. The dream!

You didn’t formally train at drama school, did you?

I didn’t do a degree at Drama School, no. But from the age of 3 I started doing Stagecoach, then I did NYMT. I then went on to a vocal academy and when I was 16 I auditioned for Pop Idol. From there, obviously I went down the TV route. But I’m very much a trained singer and dancer!

When it comes to TV and Musical Theatre, which do you prefer?

It’s really good that I’m getting to explore all my different sides. Earlier this year I was filming with Channel 5, and now I’m doing this. It’s always good to be diverse. Because I have Theatre training, I can tackle 8 shows a week. Often people who come into Musical Theatre from reality TV get a bit of a shock. It’s a whole new kind of training. I literally live like an athlete! You have to look after your voice, keep healthy and go to the gym.

Pop idol isn’t exactly like reality TV though? You have to train so hard to be on there!

Pop-idol was almost 19 years ago now. It was all very different back then. At that time, it was the only reality TV show around and it was all the Musical Theatre kids that got into the final 10. Will Young was at Arts Ed, Gareth Gates was at an opera school, so we were all actually training! The auditions were posted in The Stage newspaper, but now, the reality tv market is so saturated, there are auditions all the time.

What is your dream role?

This is definitely one of them. When I saw the footage I was like YES! She’s a diva queen who gets to sing her heart out! I also have been very fortunate to play Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard. Playing Whitney Houston was a mind-blowing experience. It was the best year of my life and I really grew as a singer and an actress. One of my other favourite shows is We Will Rock You. I would love to play the Killer Queen. Anything big and diva I love!

Do you prefer touring or doing shows in the West End?

I’ve done 8 West End shows. I’ve just had a little girl and this is my first job since then. This will be my second tour after The Bodyguard. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing stuff in town because you’re in one spot and you get to go home which is lovely but because I started my career on TV, my following is spread around the UK. So when I go on tour, I get to see fans which is so nice. So for me, a bit of both!

It must be nice to perform nearer home? Do you think people often assume that if they’re not from near London they can’t be in this profession?

About two years ago I opened a Performing Arts school back at home. I’m doing it to give something back because my community have been so supportive. I really wanted to do something for the young kids because it’s so expensive coming all the way to London for auditions and classes. I bring all the excitement up to the North!

Why should people come and see Rock of Ages?

It’s a full rock out! The songs are going to blow you away and the cast are phenomenal. I think it’s going to transport people to a place of fun for a two hours. They’re able to get away from real life and let themselves really rock out!

 

Interview by Evie Freeman. 

Rock Of Ages runs from Thursday 20th September until July 2019. Full list of venues can be found here

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