A day in the life of a West End Performer
As we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of ‘It’s My Party’ we catch up with cast and crew from years gone by and take a look at what they are up to now.
In this blog we chose to catch up with former cast member Meg Astin-Kilgallon
Meg entertained hundreds of children at ‘It’s My Party’ before being accepted into the prestigious Bird College of Dance, Music & Theatre Performance.
Meg shares with us what it's like to be a performer on London's iconic West End along with her fondest memories of being part of our team and how her time at It’s My Party helped her to ‘own the room’!
Q. When did you work at It’s My Party?
A. During 2008 and 2009 whilst I was studying at Sixth Form.
Q. What was your favourite role at It’s My Party?
A. I worked mostly in the 'Fame Academy disco room' and really enjoyed doing parties in there. At the time High School Musical had just come out and that was the theme of most of my parties. When I wasn't in Fame Academy I loved doing Fairy Parties... Mostly because the children were so adorable and really believed I was a magical fairy.
Q. Why did you love working the ‘Fame Academy Studios’?
A. I knew by then I wanted to do musical theatre as a career and running parties on my own in there really boosted my confidence and meant I could sing and dance all day!
Q. Working as a performer on London's West End must be extremely hard work - Tell us a little bit about your working day.
A. Firstly you have to understand that my working day starts and finishes much later than most people: as a rule I try not to get out of bed until at least 10am because after the show I cannot sleep until gone 2am!
During a change of cast we could be in work rehearsing from 10am until after the show at 10pm, this is generally the most busy and challenging time of a contract but once the new cast are in and all the understudies are covered rehearsals go down to around 2 to 4 hours a week.
Q. What time do you arrive at the theatre?
A. For an evening performance, our vocal and physical warm up starts at 6pm. We usually have a bit of free time before getting ready for the show.
I am a ‘swing’ cast member so I know the ensemble routines. I have to be prepared to be ‘thrown’ on stage at any moment, but that is what makes it exciting!
Q. Do you get to go to events or do fun promotional things for the show?
A. Some weeks we have publicity calls for things like photo shoots or interviews to promote the show but these are kept to a minimum so that the cast can rest.
Q. What are your top 5 tips for budding West End performers?
A. 1 - Be confident (even when you don't feel it) 2 - Believe in yourself – because nobody else will! 3 - Take every opportunity offered to you - you never know who you might meet. 4 - Get a good agent! 5 - Be a kind person.
Q. How did working at It’s My Party help you?
A. Working at IMP boosted my confidence and was a place where there was no room for insecurities… The children pick up on and take advantage of that pretty quickly! At the time I was there I was auditioning for professional colleges and often doing things and going places that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Without the experience I got working at IMP I would have struggled more when meeting new people and having the confidence to walk into a room and 'own it!' Having that self-assurance is something I value even now. Like children an audition panel will pick up on any feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty and will exploit that.
Q. What would you say to young people that are thinking of applying for jobs and positions at It’s My Party?
A. I would say go for it! It's a great place to work. For young people it's unlike any other job you could get: you are treated like an adult and expected to work as one. The management are fair and approachable but also willing to push you out of you comfort zone.
Q. What would be your fondest memory of working with us at IMP?
A. Some of my fondest memories of working at IMP are from during the Christmas period. We all worked so hard and were totally exhausted from working through the night but the tours really are something special and watching the children’s reactions to Santa Claus was totally worth it!
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, keep a look out for more interviews with former cast & crew coming soon.