Aimie Atkinson is a British actress currently starring in the Olivier award nominated SIX. She is the winner of the prestigious BBC Voice of Musical Theatre award in 2006. Her album Step Inside Love was released on Jay Records in 2016.
We got to talk to Aimie about SIX, the Olivier award nominations and how even her dog has an Instagram account!
How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
When I was a child I was always putting on some sort of show for my parents. Writing songs and making my cousins perform them much to their embarrassment. I think it was when my mum took me to see phantom of the opera that I realised you could actually perform for a living. I remember crying the whole way through the show because I was so happy. I then joined an amateur dramatics club in my home town of Stevenage and when I was 19 I auditioned for a competition called ‘The Voice Of Musical Theatre Competition’. I was told in my audition that I wasn’t eligible for the professional competition as you had to have a least five years experience in the industry, but that year they had an amateur competition running alongside the main one and whoever won that would win a chance to go up against the professionals. Anyway long story short I ended up winning the amateur one and then to my absolute shock I won the professional one too. It changed everything for me and I got my agent and my first professional job in Howard Goodhalls ‘ Days of Hope’ at the Kings Head theatre.
What has been your favourite role you have played and why?
My favourite role that I have played would have to be Daniela in ‘ In the Heights’ I love comedy and she has some cracking one liners. She’s also richly layered, on the outside she’s this strong larger than life Latino woman but inside she has this vulnerable soft centre. She was an absolute dream to play.
Where did you train?
I actually never really trained, I went to Arts Educational for a few months before I did the Voice of Musical Theatre competition but with no scholarship I was finding it hard to pay the fees so I left when I won the competition and started working in the industry. Arts Ed is a wonderful place to train and I do wish I had had the opportunity to complete my years there. I also went to the royal academy of music briefly however I ended up leaving the course to go on tour with Zorro the musical. This is actually a decision I think about a lot. Where would I be now if I had completed my training at both Arts Ed and the wonderful RAM ? I guess things happen the way they are intended but I do think people should train it’s such a special experience and I always say to young girls asking me about getting into the industry that you must go to school and hone your craft . It gives you such a good base and techniques that you will use your whole Career.
Can you tell us about your current, show: Six what drew you to the show?
SIX is a retelling of the Six wives of Henry the Eighth. The six wives are always remembered as ‘Henry’s’ wives, the wives of Henry the 8th! And not as individuals and as the strong beautiful important women they were. They all had stories before Henry and SIX is finally a platform for them to tell their side of the story. In a pop concert because you know why not!
What can you tell us about your part: Katherine Howard and how she may be slightly different to the history book version we have all read?!
Katherine Howard has always been painted out to be this manipulative, flirty bimbo who had it coming but really Katherine was 13 when she was thrust into this male dominated world and really she was just a child trying to survive and do what she was told. She really didn’t have a choice in the situation. I love playing her and singing ‘All You Wanna Do’ is such a gift. As an actress in musicals you dream of performing a number like that. The audience go on a real journey of laughing with her and then all of a sudden there’s this dark change that you don’t see coming and you can feel the audience not quite knowing how to behave. It’s honestly such a privilege to play this glorious woman.
How do you think this show will inspire people and what do you want them to take away from the show?
I think one of the most amazing things about the show is how relatable it is, the problems and the issues that these women went through all those years ago aren’t really a lot different from what women go through today. It has already inspired so many girls and the fans are just the most beautiful people. I think it truly is a special thing to see six strong woman on stage. We also have a four piece all female band who rock out every night. For young girls to see that is so Inspiring and I hope it makes girls everywhere believe that they really can do anything.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
I think the most rewarding thing about this job is touching so many people and spreading joy. When you meet people after the show and they are genuinely so happy that really makes me smile. Also we get a lot of messages from fans who are going through tough times and to hear that the show has really helped them is really humbling.
What is your favourite number in the show?
I can’t really pick one number out I love them all so much. I obviously have a soft spot for All You Wanna do as I’m so attached to it but they are all hits!
How does it feel to be Olivier nominated?
When we found out about the Olivier nominations I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked, not because I didn’t think we deserve it, it’s just I’ve been in the show for a year and a half now and it’s been such a journey. From the workshop to the tour and now back in the west end, it’s been this crazy rollercoaster of emotions and everyday is like Christmas, it just keeps on giving. We are all so over the moon to have so many nominations and to be up against the very best in our industry.
Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?
I’ve been so lucky to perform at some amazing venues all over the world. My favourite would have to be the Barys arena in Kazakhstan. My girl group Goldstone performed there for the Voice of Astana competition . It was such a surreal feeling- there were twelve thousand people in the audience all singing along and that energy is electrify.
What’s been a funny moment for you on stage? Any mishaps you want to share!?
There have been so many funny things happen to me onstage. I once fell over a vocal monitor and knocked myself out completely, I passed out with my feet sticking out of the wing. I’m such a corpser and to be honest I laugh at the smallest thing. Usually Natalie Paris or Millie O’ Connell just looking at me in a certain way will make me giggle.
Who are your influences and inspirations?
I actually don’t have one particular person that I look up too. To be honest this industry can be quite challenging and anyone who keeps at it and doesn’t let the rejection and long periods out of work get to them are my inspirations. The people that find there own work and really go out there and make things happen are my idols.
What’s your go to song for auditions or just singing in the shower?
I love rock and when I was auditioning I would always sing the classic eighties rock songs. I sang Bang Bang and Rolling in the Deep for SIX – it was such a fun audition and everyone sang along with me.
Is there a role (regardless of gender) you would love to play in a show?
If Aerosmith ever wrote a musical that would be my dream. I love creating things so anything new where I can put my stamp on it. My childhood dream was to be in Les Miserables so maybe one day that dream will come true.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I’m Mostly hanging out with my dog Wolfie, she’s the cutest little puppy and I get so much joy from watching her run around the park.
Where can people follow your work on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube etc?
And yes I am one of those crazy people that has an Instagram for my dog!