After being cast in Take That’s The Band Musical, Faye Christall toured the UK from 2017 as Young Rachel until their final performance at Mayflower Theatre earlier this year. Whilst performing in the show, Faye made her West End debut when the musical had a limited run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket over Christmas 2018 and attended The Theatre Café for a Q&A with the boys of the band and the other “Young” cast members. Prior to the Take That musical, Faye starred in Broken Biscuits as Megan alongside Grace Hogg-Robinson and Andrew Reed, playing sixteen-year-olds trying to put a band together after finishing their GSCEs. Recently, Faye talked to us about appearing in Broken Biscuits, her time in The Band and playing Young Rachel.
What did you know about The Band before doing the workshops and what do you remember from auditioning for the role?
I remember walking into my audition at Pineapple Studios quite nervous as I wasn’t told much about the show as it hadn’t been fully developed at this point. All I knew was that I was being seen for a new musical and I had to be prepared to tell a joke and sing a song. It was then in my recall when I got told the storyline and when I did the first workshop back in July 2016, it all then started to become more clear.
Do you remember how you felt stepping on stage as Young Rachel for the first and last time?
We opened at the Manchester Opera House in September 2017 and I was super excited to finally open the show. My first scene was prop heavy, so I had a ritual of checking all my props on stage before starting. I remember standing behind the Kabuki on stage and just hearing the audience waiting excitedly, singing and chatting away before we began. I turned to Rachel Lumberg (who I was lucky enough to share the role with) and I actually think I turned the colour green. It all became real from then. The atmosphere was electric, it was a sold out auditorium.
As soon as I ran out of Rachel’s door and onto the stage, all the nerves that I had just completely disappeared and I was just beaming with excitement and happiness. Everyone all of a sudden went quiet so it was lovely to know we had the audience in the palm of our hands and then as soon as the first number Pray began, the audience were clapping and singing. It was heartwarming to hear.
The last performance at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton was emotional. Having been on tour for eighteen months with this cast and crew, we became like one big family. The boys from Take That would come and visit us as often as they could to see how we were getting on but I remember Mark Owen came to visit us on the last performance and one of my most memorable moments that will stay with me for a lifetime is singing Shine and having a little dance with him backstage.
The emotions didn’t really hit me until we were about to go on for the finale for the last time and Tim Firth, our incredible writer, came over and hugged me and I just started getting really teary.
Can you describe what it was like being part of the show?
Being part of The Band was brilliant. I have made friends for life and have so many memories. It was certainly challenging at times but I learnt so much and grew as a performer and as a person. I got to play a character who was a number one fan of a boyband and she struggled with problems at home and the only way she had happiness was being with her friends and seeing and listening to her favourite boyband. I would often get people coming up to me at stage door saying ‘I was you when I was younger’ and ‘Thank you for showing my life on stage’. It was an honour to be able to have told this story and let people in the audience re-live their youth. It was beautiful to see so many smiling faces at stage door, night after night.
What was it like travelling around the UK and Ireland on tour?
I loved being on tour. Not only did I get to see so many wonderful and different places that I hadn’t been to before, but I also got to meet new people and perform at incredible theatres. I loved all the theatres we got to perform at but I have to say other than my hometown theatre the Liverpool Empire, I would say some of my favourite venues had to have been; Newcastle, Haymarket, Leeds and Glasgow. I found The Bord Gais in Dublin has a gorgeous Green Room and Nottingham has some of the best independent coffee shops, I’m a big fan.
How did you feel finding out The Band was heading to the West End?
I was ecstatic. I don’t think it really hit me until we were able to announce it to the public and then I got to the point where I took a moment and I was like ‘I’m going to be making my West End debut at the Haymarket’, this is incredible! We’d all worked so hard in The Band, so to not only get an extension but to get a West End run also was the icing on the cake. The Band is such a beautiful show, with great songs and an incredible storyline to whom so many people can relate to, so it was wonderful that the people of London were able to see the show who weren’t able to catch it on tour.
How was it performing alongside Take That at the West End announcement on the roof of the theatre?
It has to have been the most surreal moment of my life. Something I know won’t ever happen again and I was so grateful to have been given the opportunity to do it. It was definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment. We were getting ready to go live and I just looked across the way and all the people in the offices were watching from their windows and then I looked down and there were just people everywhere with The Band T-shirts on. It was crazy! I enjoyed every minute.
What did you enjoy most about performing at Theatre Royal Haymarket as your West End debut?
I think it’s every performer’s dream to be able to perform in the West End, so for me to be able to say that I have done that and at the Haymarket is something I’ll forever be grateful for. The theatre has so much history and it’s so beautiful as well.
I loved getting to share the experience with not only all the cast and crew but with the four other young girls, Katy (Clayton), Rachelle (Diedericks), Sarah Kate (Howarth) and Lauren (Jacobs). It was all of our debuts and it was nice to be in it together, we kept each other grounded. Not only at the Haymarket but on tour as well. We not only shared a dressing room for eighteen months, but we shared our lives. We had each other’s backs.
The cast appeared at The Theatre Café, how was this and did you get chance to attend other promotional events during your time in the show?
The Theatre Café is such a fabulous place and it was lovely to be able to promote The Band there. I was very lucky and grateful to be involved with various press interviews for The Band. We had such an incredible PR team, I have a lot of respect for them all. I got to appear on The One Show with Take That and Rachel the same day as the West End Press Launch, so that day was such a whirlwind. Everyone in the cast and crew were so supportive of us appearing on there. I remember I left the studio to a load of texts from the girls sharing their love.
You were directed by Jack Ryder and Kim Gavin, how was the experience?
I met Jack at my first audition and he was such a sweetheart and he’s such an incredible actor as well as a director. They are both legends, lovely people and great to work with. Jack worked more on the script whereas Kim worked more on the choreography, but there were times when they would switch it up. My favourite thing about Kim is he has these incredible jazz hands and I loved that he choreographed it into Relight my Fire!
Can you tell us about playing Megan in Broken Biscuits?
Megan is an absolute firecracker. There’s no holding her back. Megan was the one who would always tell her friends Ben and Holly what to do. She had a heart of gold though. She decided she was going to make a band, with her friend Holly on flute and also singing, herself on drums and Ben on guitar. I loved playing this character as she is quite the opposite to me. I can be quite a reserved person whereas Megan certainly isn’t, so it was so much fun to play around with this type of character.
What was the show like to appear in and what was it like working with the other cast and crew members?
The show was so much fun to be part of and many biscuits were eaten. The number of laughs and fun we had every night was hilarious. What I enjoyed the most was we got to play instruments every night and the characters had to show that they were really bad at playing, so anything could happen. I think I dropped one of my drumsticks one night by mistake, it just flew out of my hand to the other side of the stage mid-scene, that was a weird and wonderful moment. Things like that happen though.
It was the first time I got to work with Paines Plough and they are such a lovely company. They would just welcome you into their office and were so supportive when they came to watch the show when it was on its feet. James Grieve, our director, was brilliant to work with also and so down to earth.
There were a few creatives behind Broken Biscuits but when we went on tour and opened the show it was just the five of us – two stage managers and three cast members. We all got on so well though. Working with Tom Wells, our writer, was such a great experience as well. He is such a talented man and was super chilled and relaxed when it came to playing around with the characters and the script.
My favourite memory was when we performed at Hull Truck and Tom invited us round to his flat for sausage butties and cups of tea. He also took us to The Sesh on a Tuesday night as it was referenced in our play and he wanted us to see what it actually was all about. It was the best time, I loved it. Thanks, Tom.
Was there anything that stood out for you when reading the script for the first time?
Broken Biscuits was an open call and even though I only received two pages of text, I fell in love with the script and character straight away, I knew I had to play this role. It was a scene where Megan reveals the drum kit she bought to her friends so lots of excitement was happening. I remember loving how much Megan was in control of the situation, she was adamant that her ideas were always going to work. I also remember loving the confidence that she has.
What can you tell us about the TV shows you’ve filmed?
I’ve recently just made my TV debut. I’ve just filmed a documentary that was about a true murder that occurred in America. I have also just filmed a guest lead role on BBC Doctors, however, I’m not too sure if I can say anything about it, other than the cast and crew were delightful and so lovely and welcoming. I had such a brilliant and fun time with the character and learnt a lot. So stay tuned.
When and how did you decide on an acting career?
I’ve always loved performing and as my mum would always say ‘showing off’ from a young age. I danced from the age of two and I would take part in competitions and shows up until I was seventeen. I think I realised from an early age when I was at school that I wanted to do acting as I would always volunteer to perform and say all the lines in school productions, whereas everyone else would slowly back away from the idea of doing it. I absolutely loved every minute. I performed in amateur pantomimes and shows in and around the Wirral and Liverpool area and then when I was seventeen I auditioned for musical theatre school, trained for two years in Liverpool and then trained two years at drama school in New York.
What are your career plans for the next few months?
I’ve written comedy for quite some time now, so I’m currently collaborating and doing some writing with a friend at the minute, which is really exciting, so hopefully something will become of that in the future. But for now, I just hope to keep auditioning and working. I would love to work more in TV and film, however, if an exciting character in a theatre show comes along, I’m all for that.
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