After making the live quarter-finals of BBC1’s Let It Shine in 2017, for the past year and a half, Jamie Corner has been understudy to the boys and Assistant Dance Captain in the The Band Musical. During his time in the show, Jamie toured the country along with making his West End debut at Theatre Royal Haymarket. Now the tour has ended, we caught up with Jamie to talk about being Assistant Dance Captain, his experience on Let It Shine and unexpected moments in The Band.
You’ve recently finished touring with The Band, how was your time in the show?
I feel absolutely honoured to have been a part of The Band the Musical UK and Ireland Tour. Being an off-stage understudy is TOUGH. Sitting in your dressing room when all you want to do is be on that stage can get to you, but when you do go on, the feeling more than makes up for it. The performances I were a part of always felt great, and I feel like the show helped me improve as a performer, thanks to great choreography and brilliant vocal arrangements. Also, we were always very well looked after by the company.
What was it like performing the Take That songs?
Performing Take That’s songs, especially at first, was a very surreal experience. My earliest memory of Take That is when I auditioned to sing their own song Back For Good in a primary school talent show; I wasn’t successful. Recently, for 18 months, I had been in a Take That Musical, singing their songs in front of what must have been thousands of audience members. How the tables can turn!
During the run, you were also the Assistant Dance Captain, can you tell us about this?
As Assistant Dance Captain, I lead the company physical warm up most days. When rehearsals were called I would always be there to be an extra set of eyes. During technical runs and certain shows I would watch, take notes and pass them on to our head Dance Captain.
You made your West End debut with The Band at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, how was this?
Making my West End debut in The Band the Musical was such a rush… mainly because I was asked to take one of the boys’ places whilst the show was in progress. I’ll never forget it, I enjoyed it so much!
Have you had any stand-out unexpected moments while in the show that you can tell us about?
There’s always moments in life that catch you off guard… one moment I’ll remember forever is singing Shine in the finale of Act One (which is traditionally sung by Mark Owen)… and who other but the man himself caught my eye as he was standing in the stage right wing watching. No pressure.
How did the final performance of The Band go and what was the atmosphere like amongst the cast on the final show day at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton?
The final show was just electric! Every understudy was given the opportunity to take a final bow in the finale, alongside the main cast, which I am so grateful for. The stage door after was manic, there were easily over 300 people there. It was so lovely to have goodbyes and even gifts from the fans of the show. Personally, I felt the atmosphere was very quiet, but not particularly sad… it was actually kind of cheerful. I think people were using the day to celebrate what a fantastic run we’d had.
How different do you find the experience of touring and what advice would you give someone preparing for a long-running tour?
Touring, personally, doesn’t feel much different to being in a resident show. The only differences being you get to see so many beautiful venues and have to be prepared to travel most weekends… and sometimes having to live out of your suitcase. If I can give you one tip, make sure you see pictures of your accommodation before you book! Trust me.
You booked your role in The Band after being a contestant on BBC’s Let It Shine, can you tell us about your time on the show?
Let It Shine was an absolute whirlwind! I’d never been involved in something that gave so much exposure before; it was very eye-opening! The schedule was very busy, but we were always well looked after!
How did it feel waiting for the stars to light up at your audition?
The feeling of standing on the Let It Shine stage, waiting to see if I’d get enough stars to pass the solo round, is one I’ll never forget; nerve-racking! Being one of the lucky bunch to receive 15 or more stars was a blessing.
Whilst on Let It Shine, you had a performance with Kaiser Chiefs, how was this?
Performing with Kaiser Chiefs was fantastic, the energy those guys brought to the stage was insane.
You have previously performed on cruises, what’s it like being involved in these productions?
The cast of the cruise ships I was a part of (Fred Olsen Cruise Lines) were eight members strong, so quite small, but that means you always had a busy show and were kept on your toes! As the lead male dancer, I was given lots of chances to showcase myself. Mirage Showcases and Productions are fantastic at bringing the best out of each artist.
Where did your career on stage begin?
My first job on stage was during my second year at Tiffany Theatre College, it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Duo Pantomimes. I was ensemble and understudy to Muddles, the comedy character.
Do you have any plans for the upcoming months that you can tell us about?
Now I’ve finished an 18-month tour, I’m really taking the opportunity to get myself into classes and work on things that I haven’t had the chance to exercise in a long time. Polishing up the tools I already have, and trying to add new strings to my bow! And, of course, getting back in the audition rooms!
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