WEST END SUCCESS – AN INTERVIEW WITH GEORGIA MADDOCKS

Posted Oct 8, 2018 2:57:32 PM

Stuart Colligon Georgia Maddocks as Nancy in Oliver! Georgia during her performance in Lock up your daughers   Stuart Colligon and Georgia Maddocks

Last month 20 year old, Manx performer Georgia Maddocks, who has been supported by Auxesia throughout her year-long course at London School of Musical Theatre (LSMT), was signed to London talent agency Brewis Scott Associates.

As part of the Island-based consultancy’s process with their clients, Managing Director Stuart Colligon interviewed Georgia.

He said: ‘When we work with our clients, reviewing the changes we’ve implemented and the work we’ve done is a really important, reflective part of the process, after all we don’t just give them a plan and walk away – we support them through the journey until their objectives have been met. The same is true for the people we support through charitable contributions, which is why at the end of our sponsorship of Georgia we were keen to review her progress and hear about her next steps to success.”

Where have you lived in your life?

I have always lived in places in the Isle of Man. I was brought up on Crosby Terrace until I was 6 when we moved to Farmhill. Last year I moved to Borough in London.

What's the furthest place from home you’ve visited? Florida in the USA

What's your biggest pet peeve? Oh, so many things! But I think the main thing would be noisy eaters, especially those that do it on purpose, eating with their mouths open!  

What is your worst habit?

I am a worrier – sometimes a big, big worrier I think. I think far too deeply into things and can sometimes take things too seriously.  Another bad habit is being tempted by unhealthy food. As a performer fuelling my body with the right food is really important but sometimes I just can't help indulging in a piece of cake, or two.  

When did you start singing?

I started singing around the age of three, but I properly found my voice just before I started high school. When I was 11 I entered ‘Manx Stars in Their Eyes’ – it was a real confidence boost to win, and from then I knew I wanted to pursue performing as a career.

What is it you like about singing?

Musical theatre is all about telling a story, which I really love. I get a buzz from making the audience happy and singing in different styles; anything from pop to classical.

What other instruments do you play?

I used to play the E flat tenor horn in a brass band, which I’m proud to say I can still play. I was also in the Manx National Youth Band which was a fantastic experience.

Has that helped you with your singing, and especially during the last year at LSMT?

Definitely! There were classes focussing on theory so my ability to read music and knowledge from GCSEs and A-level in music were invaluable.

What the first song you sang in public?

When I was seven I sang ‘When There Was Me and You’ from High School Musical on a karaoke machine at an after-show party following the pantomime – I had played the baby fairy in Robinson Crusoe.

Who was your first singing teacher?

Rachel Wild.

And what's your favourite song at the moment?

I love all The Greatest Showman songs, and I'm quite obsessed with the Mama Mia II soundtrack, particularly Angel Eyes.

Is the rest of your family musical?

Yes, very musical. My Mum and her side of the family all play in a brass band, and my Grandad, who unfortunately passed away a couple months ago, was very musical. He had a band and he was a big inspiration for me. My Dad is the producer and co-founder of Taylorian Productions so I'm very fortunate to have such a supportive family who know what it's like to love the arts.

What are the three things that you can't live without?

Family, food and tech. Plus, I love to be happy and live a full life! What more could you want?

Which famous singers or performers do you admire?

There are so many - Whitney Houston for her powerful voice and truly beautiful lyrics. I love how singing ‘I Have Nothing’ and ‘One Moment in Time’ make me feel. Michael Jackson, he was just so cool – the King, well after Elvis Presley! He was an incredible all-round performer, which is a huge inspiration. I really admire West End star Bernadette Peters – she’s been in loads of shows and I love seeing her perform. Finally, a more local inspiration is Sam Barks - she's someone I've looked up to since I was five and I’m still in awe of her. She's on Broadway and I really hope to pursue what she is doing. She came from where I came from and was even once my babysitter!  Despite her success she’s still happy to be my mentor and I get a lot from our regular contact.   

Who is your celebrity crush?

Zac Efron – no hesitation! I didn't get to meet him when he was on the Island because it was the same night as Stars in Their Eyes. I was gutted!

Who are your role models?

From the perspective of my career: Sam Barks. In terms of how I want to live my life it has to be my Mum. She's supported my decisions and given me such brilliant guidance; she's amazing. I really look up to my Nana Bebe and my Dad too. My family have been awesome and they have never, ever, ever let me down. Especially this year when they’ve been such an amazing support emotionally, mentally and financially as well. 

You’ve had lots of big parts in many shows, but which were your favourites?

I have three favourites: In the 2012 production of Evita at the Gaiety Theatre I played the Mistress and that was my first principal role and I was only 14 but it was such a fantastic experience working with a great cast, some brilliant music and I loved that it was a true story. I was lucky enough to watch it back in September on the West End too.

In Oliver I played Nancy, which had always been a dream role. It was probably the hardest part I’ve ever taken on because Nancy is a character that you feel so sorry for. She’s in an abusive relationship and the way she’s treated is horrible. ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ is in my repertoire, and I perform it often at auditions. Every time I sing it it always brings back memories from doing the show, and I get quite emotional. It was an amazing experience working with the kids in Fagin’s gang, and Oliver and Dodger. Bill Sykes was played by my boyfriend (Damian Kneale) and at first we wondered if it would be too difficult given the traumatic on-stage relationship between the characters. But we worked so well together and it was a really lovely experience for us both.

Finally, in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat last year I was the Narrator. So far, that has been the biggest role I’ve taken on in terms of stamina, and vocally it was very full on. Other than five minutes I didn’t leave the stage! The narrator has a big responsibility to tell the story well. I loved it and got to perform with Ben Karran, who is just going into his final year at Arts Ed in London. We've been best friends since we were 10, so it was lovely to perform together.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

On the opening night of Beauty and the Beast the mirror wasn't on stage and it was my responsibility. When things like that happen, you’ve just got to really work with it and just try to not panic. My onstage partner (Jared), who was playing the Beast, had to improvise without the mirror, and he just basically used the audience as the mirror, which actually seemed really artistic and deliberate! I learnt a lot from this experience – keep calm, improvise and have confidence in yourself. 

Do you get nervous before a performance?

Yes. In fact, I think my nerves have worsened as I’ve got older! I think my own expectations of my performances have gone up and so this creates extra pressure. I feel a responsibility to please everyone – fellow cast and the paying public. It’s good to have some nerves though. It helps you perform and it shows that you care.

What advice would you give to younger people or beginners who are nervous?

I would reassure them ‘you CAN do it’ and ‘you’ve been chosen to be in the show because you’re good enough’. Some nerves is a good thing, but there’s no need to let them consume you, because you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t brilliant and talented. Don’t believe people who tell you that they don’t get nervous – they do! Believe in yourself.

You’ve been away for the last year at LSMT – what have you missed about the IOM?

I think I missed how peaceful the Island is. London is really noisy - every 10 minutes you’re hearing police sirens, train tracks rumbling and all the sounds of a big city. That, for me, was hard to get used to at first, because the whole way of life over there is so different compared to the Island. But I’m used to it now and can sleep through the extra noise. But the hardest part was missing my family and friends.

How did Auxesia’s sponsorship help you in the last year?

Auxesia has been amazing!  I couldn't have done it without your support. The financial assistance was so helpful - we had to buy the right stuff and that can be really expensive. I feel so lucky that I didn’t need to worry about affording the proper equipment, dancewear and some living costs. I feel fortunate to have had that generosity from Auxesia – it helped me to stop worrying and enjoy my course. The sponsorship was so much more valuable than just the money though – I knew that I was part of a process and this really helped when I was away from home for the first time.   I felt very supported – visiting me in London (even taking me out for dinner and a show), great advice and regular contact - I really appreciated this and I couldn’t have asked for better sponsors.

What did you learn at LSMT?

I'm definitely more confident. I have more self-belief to do things I never thought I could do before. I knew we were going to be studying a lot of Shakespeare, which I was dreading because I hadn’t enjoyed his works at A-level. But, to my surprise, I loved it. My teacher taught it in a completely different way and has shown me the beauty of his works. I’d jump at the chance to so one of his plays now! Also, I didn't have much confidence with dancing and I’ve got so much stronger through being at LSMT. I’ve made so many brilliant friends at LSMT which were invaluable throughout the journey - there were days where either I was crying or they were crying for different reasons, but we all supported and reminded each other why we were there. It really helps you to keep going.

LSMT is a very special school - it is like a big family, and I wouldn't have changed my year there for the world, I know I’m so lucky to have trained there and I want to tell everyone that is going to or thinking of going that you will have the best year of your life.

What have you learned about yourself?

In the lead up to moving away, I was mega-excited but I was nervous about leaving home too, because it was my first time away from home. Moving from somewhere as small as the Isle of Man to a place like London is a huge step. The Isle of Man will always be my home, but London has opened up so many opportunities for me. I was homesick for the first two terms, but after Christmas I felt like I’d found myself.

Over the year, you quite frequently talked about how intense it was on the course, particularly the physical intensity. How did you cope with that aspect?

As a one year course I knew it would be intense and I wasn’t wrong! Term 3 was the hardest, it was 9 weeks so was the longest term, and every three weeks we did different projects for different shows which meant in a week we had to learn half a show, musically, on only two rehearsals a week, and then two more each week to set the show, which was just crazy. We had meetings at singing assessments, and we had the Shakespeare evening so we had to learn lines from Shakespeare which was hard. There were times when I thought my head was going to explode, but I was so proud of getting through it – a big sense of achievement. And now I can reflect that if I can do that, I can do anything. It’s been great preparation. Learning things quickly is a valuable skill, especially for auditions, and you only get that with the intensity.  

What advice would you give to people from the Isle of Man or from a not so busy place like here, if they were considering moving away to further their careers?

Obviously you need to be financially stable to live in London, otherwise you won’t enjoy yourself when you are there. But, I’d say just go! As lovely as the Isle of Man is, it’s great to broaden your experience. London is one of the biggest cities in the world, it’s an amazing place and is the heartbeat of Britain’s musical theatre. Have a good head on you and always be aware, because we Manxies are not used to the crime levels! When I moved over I used to walk around with my bag open - you can't do things like that, you’ve got to be always alert. Be quick! If you’re the slowest on the streets of London you’ll get knocked over.

Where do you want to be and what do you want to be doing in 10 years’ time?

I hope I’ll have had experience being ensemble for shows and the experience from them to have given me the confidence that I can do this in the ‘real world’. Once I have some ensemble experience, I’d want to extend that to get the main parts. I would really love to be a lead in an original musical and recorded on an original soundtrack. My absolute dream role would be Eponine in Les Mis. Having seen Sam do it makes me want it more, and Les Mis is a show that I’d love to be part of in anyway. If I’ve played that role on the West End in the next 10 years, I’ll be very happy. Broadway would be even better! You have to think big. I want to be known as the girl from the Isle of Man. I’m so proud of this place and I really love to tell people where I’m from. 

What is next for you?

I have just graduated and I have an agent now. I have a few auditions coming up.  In the meantime, I'm going to look for a part-time job elsewhere to get some money, so I am looking at doing some front of house work at theatres in the West End.  

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