The super talented Emma Williams is touring the UK in her latest starring role as Paula in An Officer and a Gentleman, coming to Leeds in April. I got the opportunity to ask Emma some questions about the show, and her impressive career achievements…
Interview with Emma Williams
You’re known for your fantastic performance as Truly Scrumptious – but which role has been your favourite so far?
That’s a tricky one to answer! I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many amazing shows, and lots of original companies. I’d probably say Love Story. It was the most incredible acting challenge and I’m proud of what we achieved with it. Alternately I’d say White Christmas as it was on home territory at West Yorkshire Playhouse and it’s where I met my very-soon-to-be husband, James! (And the first show I did with our director Nikolai Foster).
What attracted you to An Officer and a Gentleman: the Musical? Has it been an exciting challenge?
At this point we’re only two weeks into rehearsal so we’re still discovering things. The biggest challenge is that Zack and Paula are not your traditional musical theatre romantic leads. There’s much more grit, fight and anger inside them. It’s a lot of fun to play a relationship that’s so passionate and fiery.
“It’s really special for me to perform on the stages of theatres that I grew up in the audience of.”
You were born in Halifax, are you looking forward to performing in West Yorkshire?
I love performing on home turf. It’s really special for me to perform on the stages of theatres that I grew up in the audience of. I sincerely hope there’ll be young people in the audience in West Yorkshire who I’ll share a stage with in years to come.
You’ve performed in a few musicals that are based on films – what extra dimension do you think live performance adds?
The hardest thing to negotiate are the technicalities such as costume. You can’t just cut ahead, if you need to change you have to find time to change. Silly things like that. You also have to find ways to fully explore the focus – there’s no option for a camera to get in close to focus the attention, you have to work as a team to find the most important moments of the scene and serve the piece and actors accordingly.
But the best thing about live theatre versus film is that the audience get truly involved in what’s happening. I think seeing the action actually happening in front of you is so much more powerful.
What’s your favourite musical and why?
Oof! That’s hard. This one. It’s glorious, gritty and joyous. Get along to a performance and let love lift you up.
Don’t miss your chance to see Emma Williams on stage.
Get your tickets to see An Officer and a Gentleman at Leeds Grand Theatre from 24th-28th April 2018.
Photograph credited to Jay Brooks.