Kids' theatre in Dubai

Junior performers tell us about taking to the stage in Dubai

Jasmine Frith
Jasmine Frith
Jasmine Frith
Jasmine Frith
Joel Grey
Joel Grey
Joel Grey
Joel Grey
Interview
Interview
Interview
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Jasmine Frith aged 12, began treading the boards at three, and has even starred in the West End musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

What’s your current role? 
I’ve been cast as Ensemble in Disney Camp Rock. Also, at school I am currently playing the mother and the evil step mother in Snow White, so I’m pretty busy with my performing.

What have you done before? 
I’ve been performing in shows since I was three. I was Nala in The Lion King, Maid Marian in Robin Hood, The Pied Piper in The Pied Piper, Blood Sister in The Dracula Rock Show and Bob Cratchitt’s daughter in A Christmas Carol. I was a member of Bridgend Youth Theatre where I performed in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Guys and Dolls and Mary Twice. I then auditioned for the West End’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where I got to play alongside Aled Jones and Ian Watkins (H from Steps!).

Why theatre? 
It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. My favourite things are drama and music. I also love to dance and I know I would like to do this forever.

Name your favourite theatrical moment to date 
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the West End, without a doubt. The first night we performed and I got on the stage, there were so many people, I couldn’t believe my eyes. When they clapped and cheered, it was amazing.

Do you get nervous? 
I do. I always think so many things are going to go wrong. But when I step out onto the stage and see the audience, I can’t help but smile and know everything is fine. No matter how nervous I feel, it just makes me more confident to know that the audience is always on my side.

If you could play one person from history who would it be? 
I would love to play William Shakespeare. He has influenced so many people throughout the world, and I love his Shakespearean insults like, ‘blabbering dumbailey spotted old toad’!

Any embarrassing performing moments you can tell us about?  
Yes! When I did Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I was smaller than most of the cast because I was the youngest. In one scene, we had to step through a hole in the screen. But when I tried to get through, I got stuck half way and fell on the floor! Luckily, the actors saw what happened and improvised. My other embarrassing moment was playing Maid Marian. Robin Hood was a year older than me in school, so you can imagine how lame he thought it was to have to hold hands and hug me. Ha ha! After the last show, he said ‘Finally! We’ll never have to do that again!’ But the following year we were cast together again.


Joel Grey aged 11, began performing two years ago and has starred in Hairspray and Macbeth. He plays a member of The Jets in the upcoming West Side Story and has won the part of the Artful Dodger in Oliver, which will be showing in October

What’s your current role?
I’m playing one of The Jets in West Side Story at Ductac. It’s a singing and dancing role, and I even have a few lines. I’ve very excited to be involved with it because it’s such a classic story with brilliant music. Although it’s sad, because it’s based on Romeo and Juliet, it’s also lots of fun.

What have you done before?
I just won the role of the Artful Dodger in Oliver, which will be playing at Ductac in October. I’m very excited about that because it’s a brilliant part. Although the Dodger is involved in crime, he’s also a good guy at heart and you can’t help but root for him. He’s got a lot of attitude and character too, so I’ll have to practice my swaggering. As well as that, he has a lot of lines and leads some of the main songs, which is exciting. I also starred in Hairspray and Macbeth.

Why theatre?
It’s very entertaining, not just for the audience, but for those of us on stage. You can see everyone’s reactions to the performance, and their appreciation of it. It makes you feel really happy.

Name your favourite theatrical moment to date?

Closing night of Ductac’s production of Hairspray last year. It’s very emotional and exciting, because you know this is the last time you’ll be playing your character, and you really give the performance your all because of that. Opening night is very exciting too, but closing night is as sad as it is wonderful.

Do you get nervous?
Always. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. Thankfully, I don’t suffer very badly, and I just try to squash the nerves down and pretend they aren’t there. Once the first scene is over, I just enjoy the performance. But those few moments before the curtain goes up can be quite scary.

If you could play one person from history who would it be?
I think I’d make a good Ron Weasly – although I’d have to wear a wig. I’d also like to play Will, from The Ranger’s Apprentice series of books. I like his character, and he’s actually quite similar to me in his outlook.

Any embarrassing performing moments you can tell us about?
When I played in Macbeth, it was the first time I’d performed professionally and I was very nervous. I ended up learning the whole play off by heart, so that I would know my cues inside out. Only, there was one bit I kept stumbling over during rehearsals, and I did it on opening night. I felt as though it was a big mistake, but in reality, I probably only paused for a couple of extra seconds.


Sophie Gatward aged nine, recently took part in The Works! by Kids’ Theatre Works! She says, ‘I love theatre because it’s a great way to express yourself. I recently played Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden. I also just played one of the characters in The Forget Me Nots, written for Kids’ Theatre Works annual showcase The Works! I’ve been in three other shows; Ten Reasons Why Not To Be In A Play, Do Your Own Soap Opera and Super Hero Squad. The best bit about performing is bowing at the end and hearing the audience clapping. You can tell that they’ve enjoyed the show. I used to get nervous at first – but now I’ve performed in a few shows, it’s got much easier. Thankfully, I haven’t had any disastrous on-stage moments so far! But there were some lines that I had to say during Do Your Own Soap Opera which embarrassed me such as ‘Ow, my bosom!’

Ones to watch

You can see Jasmine Frith performing in Disney’s Camp Rock from July 11-16 at the First Group Theatre at the Madinat, and you can see Joel Grey take to the stage in West Side Story at Ductac from July 19-23. So don’t miss out!
www.timeoutickets.com.

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