Words by Dorothy Grace Franklin
Picture: all rights reserved
Elizabeth Walker is a British actor, singer and dancer, who covered the roles of Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr on the Norwegian Breakaway Cruise production of Six the Musical. She left the show on the 11th of March 2020. Recently, I had the very lucky opportunity to interview her about all things Six, music and more!
How long have you been acting, and what got you into it?
I actually danced first! The head of my school asked my mum if I wanted to take part in the amateur production in my local area. So, at the tender age of eight, I played Belinda Cratchit in Scrooge, my first musical, and that’s how it began! But I’d grown up watching musicals from as young as I can remember, so it was no surprise that it became my passion!
Recently, you’ve been starring in the Norwegian Breakaway cast of Six; what was your favourite thing about performing in that cast?
Easy, the girls themselves! They are all so amazing and supportive! That job is hard enough as it is, so having these girls alongside me knowing they’ve got my back at any moment was super reassuring. We have the best time on and off stage, we’re true sisters and I think that showed through our chemistry on stage. Before I went on they’d always play my hype song and reiterate how they’ve got me no matter what happens out there. What more could anyone ask for?
That job is hard enough as it is, so having these girls alongside me knowing they’ve got my back at any moment was super reassuring.
How much did you know about Six before auditioning?
So, I’d heard about the show while I was away on another contract. I really didn’t know too much about it, other than it being a Brit pop show with just women. I’d managed to listen to ‘Ex-Wives’ a couple of times and was lucky enough to see it on its very first UK tour! I was immediately in love and must have listened to the soundtrack 1000 times! A couple of months later I got my audition through, and was so ecstatic to have had the chance to audition for the show! If you hadn’t gathered from my last answer, I’m a huge feminist and believer in equality for women, so for me to have even had the chance to audition to be a part of the show was huge!
What challenges did you face playing multiple queens in Six?
Initially, it was super overwhelming. I remember in rehearsals having a moment when I thought I couldn’t do it. This was my first swing job, so not only was I trying to figure out how to learn three very specific and intricate roles. I was also trying to navigate what best worked for me as a swing, which, let me tell you, wasn’t easy! One of the main challenges I found was muscle memory. You can’t let one track be in it, because you need to adapt to whatever role you’re in at the time. If you don’t, you’ll make mistakes all over the place! Spring boarding off that concentration is key, I know that seems obvious but you cannot drop the ball for a single minute. Especially because the show is so compact with detail, it would run away with you if you weren’t concentrating. Which at the end of a two-show day is super draining!
Harmonies were a struggle too! Learning three separate harmony tracks and having them perfect was something I had to work really hard on. Sometimes you’re on a harmony line on your own, so there’s no hiding if you don’t know it!! Our Joan (Dani Lee Hutch) was amazing and super supportive when it came to finding tricks and tips to help us get them spot on!
Did you have a favourite queen to play?
I loved playing each of them, and I have traits of all three. But I think I’ve finally made up my mind! Simply, Parr. Her presence is calm and collected and I relate to that. She’s the last of the queens to tell her story and what a story it is. She’s such a formidable queen, who is so inspiring, remarkable and strong. When I think about the things she did for women, it astounds me. Especially, back in those times. She brings the whole show together and really drives the message home. The message that we, as women, deserve to be more than just our sex and that we are so much more than the needs of any man! That got deep real fast!
When I think about the things she (Parr) did for women, it astounds me. Especially, back in those times. She brings the whole show together and really drives the message home.
Who are your biggest inspirations and idols, both on-stage and off?
One of my most inspirational and influential idols were the ‘Spice Girls’. No surprises there (girl power)! They had such strength and power and literally ruled the world! I cried when I found out they’d broken up!! They were such good role models for young girls and I’m so happy I had them to look up to. I remember playing Spice Girls related games with my friends in the playground, I always wanted to be Baby! But as I got a little older Britney, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and now Ariana Grande have all been inspirations to me. It’s about making people feel something, and these artists certainly have that power. Not forgetting my parents who have loved and supported me in everything I’ve ever done!
What are some of your dream roles?
I have a guilty pleasure for Cats, but we shall see about that one! Ultimately, if I ever got the chance to play Eponine in Les Mis I could die happy! I also want to play Lydia in Beetlejuice but I’m not too sure if my time has passed for that role!
How have you been passing the time in lockdown?
I’ve just been trying to keep as busy as I feel necessary! Some days I’ll be on duo lingo trying to learn German, doing a home work out and practising songs on my ukulele. Other days I will lie in bed and binge-watch something on Netflix, while I eat leftover Easter chocolate (my favourite). I think in a time like this, you do as much or as little as you need to that day. We all feel the pressure of social media and begin to ask ourselves are we doing enough, but I think it’s super important to do what makes you feel happy and if that’s lying in bed all day, that’s what you do!
But it has been really great for reconnecting with friends who I didn’t get to speak too much, whilst I was away. It’s a little more challenging to contact people when you’re in the middle of the ocean and there’s a time difference!
Have you been listening to cast recordings in lockdown?
I have to admit, I prefer listening to pop music!! I know, I know! Although, last year I was obsessed with the Beetlejuice soundtrack and was planning on heading to New York, after my contract, to catch one of the last performances. But my go-to album currently is ‘Thank u, next’ by Ariana Grande.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to anyone who wants to go into theatre professionally?
To understand that it is a very difficult industry. I’ve had my fair share of no’s. But positivity and belief in yourself are absolutely key! Positivity has really helped get my last two jobs. Also, do not look sideways, keep focused on yourself and be the best version of you that you can! Ultimately, you’re the reason you’ll get the job. There are a lot of talented people out there, but nobody can do you like you can!
Do not look sideways, keep focused on yourself and be the best version of you that you can!
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers of Curtain Call?
I’d just like to thank everyone for having a read of my interview! I hope you enjoyed it. We’ll all be running back to those theatres soon! Keep safe in these uncertain times and make sure you tell your loved ones what they mean to you!