And the understudies are … still not being mentioned

A whole new world is about to begin. After four months of no live theatre performances on stage, the UK Government are slowly allowing theatre to reopen.

It will be a while until things are anywhere near ‘normal’ (if ever) but at least there is hope at the end of the tunnel as new shows are starting to be planned and worked on for the future.

But with the shut down of theatre, all sense of what was ‘normal’ has changed. We have a chance to rewrite the way theatre is talked about, as we are starting again – with no rules. No longer can there be an excuse of ‘that’s just the way we have always done it around here’ because everything has gone back to square one. This is a fresh start where new rules can be written.

I would have LOVED to have opened the casting announcement for the upcoming London premiere of Frozen the Musical last week to read the words “joining the previously announced Samantha Barks (Elsa) and Stephanie McKeon (Anna) are their understudies Danielle Fiamanya and Sarah O’Connor. But sadly, despite this being true, there was no mention of who would be understudying the roles.

Isn’t it about time we start making a real statement for understudies in theatre? Not only have these people worked just as hard as those cast as the lead to secure the job, but the more audiences read about understudies, the less they will feel disappointed when the attend a performance and the lead performer is not on that day.

I really hope producers and PR agencies see this hiatus theatre has been on in 2020 as a chance to re-evaluate the way things are done and start to look at things with fresh eyes for the future.

Also, casting a person of colour (Danielle Fiamanya) as the understudy for Elsa is pretty big and exciting news – why aren’t we shouting about that in the news announcement either?