Cilla Black is a national institution. For some, she’s the flame-haired singer who led women in the Swinging Sixties, for others she was Miss Saturday Night, keeping us glued to our screens on Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. For all of us, she is, quite simply, a legend in the world of entertainment.
Having the chance to appear in the musical charting her life was a huge honour. Milton Keynes Theatre is an incredible venue and it was a privilege to be able to perform there – giving us an invaluable insight into what lies ahead in our careers.
We played the role of dancers in the Cavern – the iconic Liverpool nightclub where both Cilla and The Beatles made their name. Getting into the role of teenagers in the 1960s was great fun, the fashion was amazing and the sense of hope, fun and opportunity that dominated the era was palpable. This was a generation that had been given the chance to express themselves and they were going to make the most of it. Take life by the scruff of the neck, no regrets.
We were thrown into the performance with barely any time to rehearse. We had a quick run through and the professional performers were brilliant with us, quickly putting us at ease and showing us where we needed to be on stage at all times.
We had to think on our feet, it was different to anything we had done before but it was good to have that challenge, it made us focus.
A key part of our role was to ensure we ‘looked’ authentic. We had to study the way Sixties teenagers moved and danced. They had very particular poses and it was very different to what you’d see in a club or a bar today.
Another challenge was the amount of set movement that was going on while we were on stage. It wouldn’t have been noticeable to the audience due to the lighting but there were all sorts of things going on around us that we had to move out of the way of and that kept all of us on our toes!
Thankfully we got through it without any mishaps and managed to perform eight shows to packed-out crowds over five days. It was a hectic schedule but showed us what life as a performer is really like. It’s great fun but it’s hard work.
Having the chance to work with the professional cast was amazing and we were able to pick their brains and tap into the experience they have picked up from performing in the likes of Britain’s Got Talent, Waterloo Road and The Bill.
We’re now looking forward to putting everything we picked up in Milton Keynes into practice back at college and we can’t wait for the chance to perform again.