After graduating from Arts Educational Schools, Rebecca Lafferty booked her first professional role as Swing and Cover Eponine in Les Misérables in 2017, where she continued in her role until earlier this year. Rebecca will be playing the role of Wendy in Horsham’s 2019 pantomime Peter Pan which runs at The Capitol Theatre from 13th December until 5th January. Catching up with Rebecca, she tells us about why she chose to train at ArtsEd, her time in the West End with Les Misérables and her upcoming performance of Wendy.
What are you looking forward to for Peter Pan opening?
I’ve never done a press night before, so I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve just done two years in Les Misérables and you don’t do press nights in that. I’m really looking forward to the excitement of all the cast coming together and everyone from newspapers and magazines.
Have you done a role like this previously, and how will you prepare for playing Wendy?
This is my first professional panto, so this is going to be good. Wendy is close to me in terms of the whole youthful naivety, but taking on a leading role in a panto is completely new to me, so I’m nervous for that, but excited for the challenge.
Have you worked with, or did you know any of the cast members previously?
I first met these guys a month ago for a photoshoot, and that was the first time of meeting them. Most of these guys have done panto year after year, but I’m not from Horsham so I’ve not worked with them before.
Have you seen Peter Pan as a pantomime before?
I’ve seen loads of pantomimes back home in Scotland, but Peter Pan is actually one that I’ve never seen. This will be completely fresh so it’s going to be fun.
What can you say about being cover Eponine and swing in Les Mis?
It was the best experience and also the best training I could have for my career. I’d just graduated from Arts Educational Schools and went straight into Les Mis. I got the phone call saying I’d been offered Swing and I was so nervous! We did a Swing assessment at college, but it’s not the same as being offered the role. I loved every single second of it. I had to learn eight tracks and I had to learn it from an audience perspective because I couldn’t go on stage. My first night was my first time in costume, with the cast, in the lighting and doing it all the way through, so it was like being thrown in at the deep end!
During the rehearsal process, I got offered Cover Eponine, and I was so lucky to get on for two shows, it was amazing. I was Third Cover in my first year, so to get on was pretty remarkable. In my second contract, I got offered Second Cover, and I got on again for that. The major thing for me was the fact I was used to being thrown on for different roles as people would go off mid-show so I’d have to change tracks. Sometimes I would do four tracks in one show, so when I got thrown on for Eponine, it didn’t even phase me! I was so used to be thrown in the deep end so that kind of training I’m hoping is going to help me with this panto.
How did you decide on a theatre career and why did you choose ArtsEd for your training?
It sounds very stereotypical, but as a kid, I was always into theatre. No one in my family had ever done it, but I would be singing and dancing all the time, so I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I had a five-year plan, so my goal was to do two years at college, and then three years at ArtsEd, and I was lucky enough to follow that through. I walked into ArtsEd and knew that was where I needed to be as it was the only school that offered the triple threat programme. I didn’t want to go to a school that was great in singing but lacked in dance, or was great in dance but lacked in singing and acting, I wanted to go to a school that was completely equal. ArtsEd gave me opportunities I could never dream of – that’s where I got Les Mis. Going to ArtsEd was the best thing that could have happened to me, it was a dream come true.
Why do you think Peter Pan will appeal to all ages?
I love panto because there’s adult humour in it that the kids won’t get! The kids will love it though because of the costumes, the props, all the different characters like Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Wendy, the boys… and obviously in panto, there is the Dame, who will appear to the older lot. I think Peter Pan is going to be one for everyone to enjoy.
PETER PAN starts 13th December and runs until 5th January at The Capitol Theatre, Horsham.
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