Paige Blankson

For her West End debut, Paige Blankson is currently in the cast of The Phantom of the Opera, where she performs multiple times a week as the Alternate Christine Daaé, with the show booking at His Majesty’s Theatre into 2024. In April this year, Paige represented The Phantom of the Opera at the Olivier Awards, when she was part of the opening number alongside numerous other shows and performers. Paige made her professional debut as Cosette in the UK & Ireland Tour of Les Misérables, touring with the musical in 2021 and 2022, having graduated from drama school during the pandemic. After starting her training at The BRIT School, Paige went on to attend ArtsEd, where she performed in Freaky Friday and Legally Blonde during her third year. Talking to us, Paige told us about making her West End debut in The Phantom of the Opera at His Majesty’s Theatre, performing as Alternate Christine Daaé and touring with Les Misérables as Cosette for her first professional role.

Earlier this year, you joined the cast of The Phantom of the Opera as Alternate Christine Daaé, how did you feel finding out you’d booked the role?

It’s actually a funny story! Usually, people say that they got a call from their agent but I remember being so nervous to find out that I actually called my agent because I couldn’t wait any longer and that’s when he told me.

What is Christine Daaé like to play and how is it performing the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart music?

Christine is a mammoth role, she only has 15 minutes of the show where she isn’t on stage. It’s so incredible to be able to sing these songs. The songs are musical theatre classics, people love the show and have done since it opened. It is an incredible honour to be able to perform these songs to audiences, even if the role requires me to be on stage for 99% of the action!

What do you remember from your first performance as Christine and how was it getting into costume for the first time?

My first performance felt like a fever dream. The one goal I had for myself was just to be present and enjoy it. It was so special and to have all my family and friends in the audience was the best. It’s an iconic show and an iconic character and to be stood on that stage with my family and friends there to see me make my first performance as Christine was actually a dream come true. But like I said, I had set myself the goal of being present in the moment and enjoying it which isn’t something that is always possible as a theatre performer so I am pleased I managed that.

How is it having The Phantom of the Opera as your West End debut and what is it like performing at His Majesty’s Theatre?

Really special. Not many people can say they made their West End debut playing Christine. Such a well-known role that so many people class as one of the biggest and best in the history of performance. It was special. His Majesty’s is one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve ever seen and working in a theatre like this really does help drive you through the performance.

Do you have a favourite aspect of being part of the cast and working on the musical?

I think my favourite part of being in this show and doing this role is the fact I feel so safe on stage. I know if a costume change goes wrong or a mistake happens, the cast will be there to help and get me through it! The team here both on and off stage are so supportive and make you feel so safe in the environment here at His Majesty’s Theatre. It’s really special.

Why do you think The Phantom of the Opera has stayed popular over the years and why would you recommend booking tickets?

The story at its heart is a romantic drama and I think people connect to that. Not to mention Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beautiful score. Even though it is not as old as some shows, it is a classic and people love the classics. With the beautiful score and the massive talent on stage, it is hard not to love Phantom. But even if that isn’t enough, people should come and see the show because it’s a timeless love story and there is nothing better to fill your heart!

📷 : Johan Persson

How did you find the experience attending and performing in the opening number at this year’s Olivier Awards?

This wasn’t my first Olivier Awards, but it was my first time representing a show! It was really cool to get to do a number with so many different shows and to see all the costumes too. That is something that doesn’t happen too much in theatre. All these talented people and really cool shows never get to work together and see what each other bring to the table, so to be able to do a number with so many different shows, see what they had going on and all the costumes, it was great.

You made your professional debut in the UK & Ireland Tour of Les Misérables as Cosette, what are some of your favourite memories from touring with the production?

My favourite memories are of the times cast members and I spent exploring the different cities we went to. It’s a unique part of touring shows and a really cool way to see different places in the UK you might not go to if you weren’t touring with a show. Personally, my favourite venue was Plymouth. Also, it’s a really cool way of bonding as a cast. To spend the time together seeing new places and exploring really brings you together.

Had you seen Les Misérables before auditioning and was there anything that drew you to the role?

I had actually never seen the show before I auditioned for it and I think that worked in my favour. I was able to go into the auditions without any preconceived ideas of who I thought she was. I was drawn to how full of hope and love she was, despite her terrible upbringing.

What did you enjoy most about playing Cosette and taking the show around the country?

I really enjoyed that I could take my interpretation of the character and bring that to different people around the UK. So many regional areas don’t get theatre in the same way we do in London so it was really cool to be able to give them that taste of Les Mis and to show them my side of Cosette was really cool.

Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?

I really enjoy telling stories. Seeing a script and having no idea what my way into a character is and then figuring that out is really fun for me and I think having people around me that feel the same way made me love it more. I started performing through Stagecoach on a Saturday and that slowly developed into me auditioning for The BRIT School.

How was your time training at The BRIT School and ArtsEd, and can you tell us about performing in Freaky Friday and Legally Blonde?

My time at The BRIT School was some of the most formative times of my life. I learnt what it meant to be disciplined about my work but, more importantly, I learnt to be open and met so many people from so many different walks of life.

Doing my third year shows at ArtsEd gave a new meaning with hindsight. I graduated in 2020 and didn’t know that those shows were going to be the last bits of theatre I did for a while. It was a surreal time with us thinking we were going to come back after two weeks! Little did we know.

What are some of your favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?

My favourite most recent show I’ve watched was For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy. It was a fantastic exploration of black British culture and was so cathartic. A show I would love to see is Cabaret.

How do you like to spend your time away from performing?

I like going to the gym, reading, netball and Sunday roasts!

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