Before theatres closed for the foreseeable future, Olivia Clark was playing her first professional lead role of Brigitta von Trapp on the UK and Ireland Tour of The Sound of Music, and had previously performed in the children’s choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Screen work for Olivia has seen her play Anne Persson in feature film Soul Searching, appear in Eastenders and working on a number of commercials. Olivia is a keen dancer, with experience in many styles including tap and jazz, and continues her regular training with Spirit, where she is also part of their competition team. Talking to Olivia, she chats about making her professional lead debut as Brigitta von Trapp, being on set of Eastenders and training at Spirit.
Can you tell us about playing Brigitta von Trapp in The Sound of Music tour?
I loved playing Brigitta, she was my first professional lead role and I had quite a lot of acting to do. Brigitta is always right, she is the first one to realise that Maria and the Captain are in love so it was fun to play her. I also loved all the costumes and the songs are great and I got to sing in fun songs like Lonely Goatherd and Do Re Me to really sad songs like Edelweiss.
What were you enjoying most about touring and what were you looking forward to for continuing the run before theatres closed?
I was really enjoying touring as we got to travel to different places and stay in nice hotels and perform in lots of theatres. Dublin was my favourite as my team did the press night and the theatre was really big. When you are touring, you get to spend more time with the rest of the cast so you become like a family, I really miss it. Unfortunately, due to all the theatres closing down suddenly, all my friends and family didn’t get to see me as they had lots of tickets to the upcoming venues and I was really looking forward to them watching me and I was looking forward to having the final night experience.
How did you prepare for the role and what did you know about Brigitta before auditioning?
I knew a lot about the Von Trapp family before, as I had watched the film many times and had already seen it on the stage. I had got to the finals before when I was seven for the role of Marta. Just before I auditioned for Brigitta, I played the part in a summer workshop show which I think really helped me. I knew her character was not afraid to speak her mind and she always tells the truth.
You were previously in the children’s choir of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, what was this like?
I always wanted to be in the Joseph choir, I love the show and I used to be in The Carmel Thomas youth choir and they always got to do the Joseph choir. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough and, luckily, when I was seven, I was allowed but I couldn’t do a double show day because of my age but I really wanted to. It was such a fun experience for my first time in a professional show, and before we used to go on, all the adult cast would talk to us and they were all so nice and funny.
What was it like filming for Soul Searching as Anne Persson for your first feature film?
It was a very small part, in one family scene, but it gave me a taste to know I want to do more. My cousin was in it too, he had a bigger part, but it was good to be with him and I liked the 1940s costumes.
How did you find the experience on set of EastEnders?
I’ve done Eastenders a few times, just being in the scenes, and it’s interesting to see the real set. My favourite was the Christmas nativity as we did that over two days and it was fun dressing up, and lots of the main characters were in that scene like Danny Dyer.
Can you tell us about filming Countdown to Christmas for Disney Junior?
When we filmed this, it was a really hot summer day and we had to wear thick coats and hats and scarves and it was so hot under all the lights, they had to keep taking us outside to try to cool us down. It was filmed with green screen so I loved seeing it on TV to see it put together.
What was it like being a dancer on the Aldi Halloween Adventure?
Aldi Halloween was loads of fun and I got to have really cool makeup put on, and dress up as a zombie cheerleader. One of my best friends was in the commercial with me so it made it extra special. It was filmed over two days as we had to learn a dance routine and the choreographer was from Horrible Histories: The Movie.
You were an interviewee for Nestle – Kids Go Free commercial, how was this?
The interviewee advert was very different as there was nothing to learn, I had to talk about things I liked to do in the summer holidays and things that I would like to try, to encourage families to try different activities in the holidays.
How did you get into an acting career and can you say about training at Spirit?
From when I was about three, I really loved musicals, and went to lots of shows from that age, then I started classes and built up more classes, workshops and masterclasses as I got older. I got an agent quite young and started auditioning and working really hard and performing in am-dram shows too. My agent Sarah is very helpful too, she’s encouraging and gives lots of advice. I know that acting and performing is definitely what I want to do as an adult. I started training at SpiritYPC when I was four. We train in singing, dancing and acting and I then went on to join their dance company when I was six. Spirit is a big part of my life. We have great teachers and we get to film videos for YouTube, we have to audition for parts which prepares us for the real world.
What do you enjoy most about acting and performing?
What I love the most about acting and performing is that you can be different characters, whether it be in singing or acting, and I absolutely love being on the stage, although I would like to try some big TV and film. That’s what I love too, that there are so many different ways to act and perform and I love that you meet so many different people along the way.
What are your favourite theatre and TV shows to watch?
My favourite theatre shows are Kinky Boots, SIX and Hamilton. My first show I saw in the West End was Dreamboats and Petticoats just before my third birthday, I was crazy on the songs, I hope it comes back one day. Recently, I have really been addicted to Malory Towers on TV.
As a keen dancer, can you say more about it?
I love dancing. I started ballet, tap and modern when I was really little and then I joined Spirit YDC when I was six and started training in more styles like lyrical, commercial and jazz. I then joined the competition team. I love competitions as you get to dance and perform all day in solos and group numbers and spend the whole day with your friends and we all support each other. Costumes and makeup are another great thing about competing and I love being part of a team. I train all day on a Saturday, three hours on Friday nights, I also have a one-hour dance on Sundays with performers company and during the week I do my tap and ballet grades. During lockdown, I have tried to do a lot of different online dance classes and I’ve really enjoyed doing a lot of extra tap.
How do you spend your free time?
I don’t have a lot of free time, as I train most evenings after school and weekends and holidays, I always like to do workshops but it’s what I love to do, I look forward to going to my singing, acting and dance lessons very much. I do love reading and art when I’m free especially painting, and recently, I have started learning the piano, I’m also crazy on pigs so I like collecting anything to do with pigs. I have been a bit addicted to playing Roblox during lockdown.
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