Home CultureTheatre Interview with Celinde Schoenmaker

Interview with Celinde Schoenmaker

by Emily Healey-Lynham

Celinde Schoenmaker is a Dutch actress and singer, known for appearing as Fantine in the West End production of the musical Les Misérables and as Christine Daae in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera. Celinde is appearing in Mimma the Musical, a new musical of war and friendship at Cadogan Hall for one night only in February, alongside Sir David Suchet, Louise Dearman, John Owen Jones, Ashley Riches and Elena Xanthoudakis and the BBC Concert Orchestra led by Richard Balcombe. We got to speak to Celinde about the piece and what to expect from this one night only show.

How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you? 

I think I was quite a theatrical kid. Always loved going to my Saturday acting school. I did a few professional productions when I was younger but never thought I would do it as an adult. I was always incredibly moved by music, films and shows. Singing and acting was a way to express myself. Only when I got a bit older and when I didn’t do it for a few years, I realised I missed it and I wanted to give it another go. I applied for both the Fontys Conservatoire and International Business School. I got into the conservatoire and never looked back. 

What has been your favourite role you have played and why? 

Every role that I’ve done has been a journey and has had something special. One that stands out is Fantine, because that was my very first role out of drama school. 

Where did you train?

Fontys Conservatoire of the Arts in Tilburg, The Netherlands. 

Can you tell us about your current project Mimma at Cadogan Hall, what drew you to the role?

I love the strength in her character. She is in an impossible situation which she’s trying to navigate, the score compliments the story beautifully and the cast sublime. This, in combination with singing with the BBC Concert Orchestra led by Richard Balcome, made it a no-brainer. 

How do you approach characters differently for a concert version than from a normal show?

For me personally it’s not very much different. It’s still routed in a character and has a story that needs to be told. 

Why should people come along?

It’s rare to have such a rich one-time performance. The 50+ piece orchestra and the incredible cast telling you this story of heartbreak, hope, love and friendship will make it a very special evening. Especially after the years we’ve just had. It will be an evening to forget what’s going in the world and immerse yourself in a completely new musical with both aria’s and smokey jazz songs. 

Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?

That would’ve been the Royal Albert Hall. It’s incredibly beautiful and has such a rich history of incredible performers. It was an honour to be on that stage. 

What is the most rewarding thing about your work? 

Being able to escape into stories and characters. To create a completely new world and push yourself to emotional edges. I love my job; I am lucky I get to do what I love every day and if you can touch someone with your performance or make them feel something… that’s the cherry on the cake. 

What’s been a funny moment for you on stage? Any mishaps you want to share!?

There have been so many funny moments and I laugh at everything. But if I tell you, I’d ruin the magic!

Who are your influences and inspirations?

Everything! I am inspired by so many things. There isn’t one person that has inspired me, or one performance. It’s so many people, so many movies, books, poems, sculptures, conversations. That’s the beauty of our profession. The inspiration is life! 

Where can people follow your work on Socials?

Find me on Instagram: @celindeschoenmaker 

See Celinde in Mimma at Cadogan Hall on the 28th February for a special semi-staged gala concert performance, 100% of proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Prince’s Trust.

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