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Interview with Shanay Holmes

by Emily Healey-Lynham

Currently in the Turbine Theatre’s first musical High Fidelity we got a chance to speak to Shanay Holmes about the musical, belting out some Whitney and corpsing on stage!

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

I got into acting properly quite late. I was cast in The Bodyguard and had to learn on the job. I then went on to train privately as that job ignited a strong passion for it. I saw RENT when I was 14 and I knew I could have a home in musical theatre. There were people that looked and sang like me in a musical! It blew my mind!

Where did you train?

I didn’t train. I learnt on the job! I managed to get into theatre through open casting calls and the taught me everything I needed to know.

Can you tell us about your current, show High Fidelity – what can people expect from the show?

The show is hysterical for one! But it also has this incredible moving story fuelling it focuses on the journeys we take to understand ourselves and each other better and to learn how to love not just others but also ourselves.

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

Corpsing with Billy Cullum in RENT!! All he did was slip on his jacket and he’s the kind of person that once he’s even so much as smirked at you your gone!

Who are your influences and inspirations?

I love Audrey Mc Donald, Viola Davies and Heather Headily strong black women who are renowned in their field.

What’s your go to song for auditions or just singing in the shower?

I’m a sucka for Whitney’s I’m everywoman!

Is there a role (regardless of gender) you would love to play in a show?

In a musical? Something epic like Evita would be stunning I’ve been lucky enough to be able to begin to play roles that have not been traditionally played by black actors I’d like to continue to break down that stigma.

Where can people follow your work on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube etc?

Shanay Holmes on all platforms: Twitter and Facebook.

What drew you to the role of Laura?

She’s an interesting character. She has many scenes in the piece that an actor must be emotional open and available for and really wanted to go there. Particularly as it’s a musical I found it interesting that the piece had such a contrasting moment.

What message would you like people to take away from the show?

We as people can grow and become better versions of ourselves if we are brave enough to try.

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

Theatre wise Regent’s Park! It’s otherworldly there! With my music its been Wembley stadium just incredible!

What is the most rewarding thing about your work?

Connection. I love to feel that people have come and felt something and that I’ve been apart of it.

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

I’m not sure I can name a favourite but I thoroughly loved playing Rachel Marron in the Body Guard and I loved spending this summer working on the bridges of Maddison county with air Trevor Nunn that was incredible.

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