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.
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.
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.
Can you tell us about your experience on BBC’s Let It Shine and collaborating with Kaiser Chiefs?
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!
Performing with the Kaiser Chiefs was fantastic, the energy those guys brought to the stage was insane.
Can you describe how it felt 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 fifteen or more stars was a blessing.
How would you describe the journey you’ve had in The Band Musical?
I feel absolutely honoured to have been a part of The Band the Musical UK and Ireland Tour. Being an offstage 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 did your role of Assistant Dance Captain involve?
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.
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 eighteen 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!
What was your final performance of The Band like opposed to the other times you’ve come on as a band member?
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 was easily over 300 people there. It was so lovely to have goodbyes and even gifts from the fans of the show.
How was the atmosphere amongst the cast on the final show day at Mayflower Theatre?
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.
You made your West End debut in 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 unexpected moments while in the show?
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 different is your day-to-day life when touring opposed to being at home?
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.
Do you have any advice for anyone preparing for a long-running tour?
If I can give you one tip, make sure you see pictures of your accommodation before you book! Trust me.
What are your career plans now your time in The Band has finished?
Now I’ve finished an eighteen-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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