INTERVIEW: BECKY BRASS

gold_medal_16_jk_0065

Image: Becky Brass, JK Photography

You’ve been on tour with the successful Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour both in the UK and internationally – how has that been and how did it come about?

I got a call from a fixer in my final year at Trinity Laban (whilst I was sat in a practice room worrying about excerpts!). The fixer asked me if I was interested in going to an audition to be the drummer in the band for a new show written by Lee Hall, who’s famous for Billy Elliot. My number had been passed on from a West End drummer who’d recently done a class and taken my details. I didn’t have anything in the pipeline for when I graduated so thought – why not? I received a hilariously enthusiastic email from Martin Lowe, the Music Supervisor (who I only found out after my audition was the composer of Once and recipient of a Grammy), asking me to bring ‘fun noisy things’ and have a play. I crammed all of the weird percussion I had into a bag and carried it like an unbalanced turtle to Kings Cross. I had a surprisingly fun audition but mistakenly thought that nothing would come of it, as Martin had assured me that they had a long list of people to see after me.

It’s a year and a half later and we’ve taken the show from the Edinburgh Fringe to across the UK, America, Ireland and Australia. We’ve received three awards and been nominated for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards 2016. It’s been entirely unforgettable; the show has a small but fierce cast of six women, with myself and two other women forming the band, not to mention being directed, lit, managed and choreographed by powerful women. We’ve grown into a formidable wolf pack along the way!

What’s it like to play in a theatre production? Have you done so before/would you like to continue with this line of work?

I had some experience playing in pits for shows, having worked at the Southwark Playhouse and the Royal Opera House before graduating, but playing in Our Ladies was a totally new experience. The musicians are on stage and in costume, required to interact with the actresses throughout, so complete focus and good behaviour was required at all times. I was fortunate to go straight into working on a show that was just being created. I joined rehearsals in Glasgow as the cast were learning choreography; scenes were cut and changed, songs added or rearranged and lines thrown out the window on an hourly basis, so we all felt very much at the core of the show, which is fairly unusual. I’d wanted to work on shows since my parents took me to see Stomp when I was ten and had an annoying amount of energy, and I would still love to continue working on them.

How did you find your time at Trinity Laban? What valuable things did you learn?

I got a lot from my time at Trinity Laban: time-management, diligence and being bold enough to try new styles and instruments. Although I struggled to figure out what direction I wanted to take for the first few years, it was with the input of my incredible teachers and the visiting players who encouraged me to pursue a less ‘classical’ path, as that suited me better. I threw myself into learning instruments from and around the world and kit and sat in on as many shows as I could, pestering as many teachers as possible!

What have you been up to since graduating?

I went straight into Our Ladies after finishing my fourth year, and then started working on a kids’ show at the Unicorn Theatre. I had a short break from shows at the start of 2016 before going on the international 6 month tour of Our Ladies, playing with function band Chiqas, and then working at the Unicorn for a second year.

Do you have any future projects/plans lined up?

I’m working on a few smaller jobs at the start of this year, ongoing work arranging and playing with Chiqas and a show at ArtsEd. We recently received the news that Our Ladies is transferring to the West End having been taken on by top west end producer Sonia Friedman (who produced Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Dreamgirls and The Book of Mormon). We’ll be playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre from May until September 2017!

To find out more about Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour and to book tickets, please visit the website.

becky-brass

Image: Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s