I previously chatted with Ionica Adriana in the winter of 2018/19 when she was in Sleeping Beauty at the Princess Theatre, Torquay – I caught up with her this week to find out how life was for her during these particularly difficult times.
Firstly, how have you managed to keep yourself busy during this pandemic?
Ionica: I baked 559 cakes (in 15 days) for my local community (for free) just to cheer people up. It started with putting a status on Facebook if anyone wanted to surprise a loved one with a cake on their doorstep that they hadn’t or couldn’t see. Having never baked before I didn’t anticipate what I was letting myself in for or why anyone would accept haha! What was I thinking!? Safe to say the beast grew rapidly so to go out with a bang (and not to use any more of my dad’s leccy as the oven was on from 8am-4am) I auctioned one final cake off for the NHS that raising £650 and donated the cake to our local Hospital (The Friarage). I was helped by so many donating ingredients, products and gifts, Tescos being one of them! Tip of the day. Don’t offer free cakes on a Facebook group of over 14k members if you want any sleep! Haha. Safe to say I can now make one mean Victoria sponge and I’ve retired from baking!
You are currently performing in Aladdin at the Forum Theatre in Billingham. Can you tell us how you got the role of Princess Jasmine?
Ionica: Like many over that year, auditions turned into self-tapes so I sent multiple singing tapes off and got booked for Aladdin. Then Panto seemed very far away and doable – little did we know what the future held… That was then cancelled and we changed it to Sleeping Beauty with a smaller cast which also got cancelled due to the tier system but we are back again with Aladdin and my heart couldn’t be more full.
What can you tell us about the show and Billingham Forum Theatre?
Ionica: Laughter from start to finish! It’s magical and full of fun. Every single cast member brings something to the show, be it humour, vocals, or incredible dance ability. Panto for so many is a tradition and audiences are happier than ever to be seeing live theatre again.
For you, what is special about pantomimes?
Ionica: The magic. The joy it brings people. It’s fun and it’s such a big part of peoples tradition, childhood and children are introduced to live theatre. The thing I love about Panto is the ad-libbing as every audience finds different parts funny, which in turn can rewrite a few off the cuff lines!
Aladdin will end its run early in January – what have you planned for 2022?
Ionica: I recently started freelancing at Crafters TV which is something I never imagined or have the opportunity to do but I love it and the presenting skills are on another level! So back to that which I’m excited about and I of course want to do more TV (Acting) in 2022. It’s always an immense privilege to work alongside hugely talented people. actors, creators, creatives.
Where do you see yourself in five-ten years? Any roles or jobs that you would like to have done or be doing?
Ionica: I think one thing I’ve learnt is that you can’t predict this industry or what avenue you will go down. I never in a million years did I ever imagine I’d be a presenter at the BBC or be a judge on a prime time TV show (both were unexpected opportunities) or work with someone who I’ve admired for so long such as Kay Mellor. My hope is that again, as I said above, to continue to work with incredible, credible talent and nice human beings. I’d love to do hard gripping dramas and comedy if I had the choice.
4th December 2021 to 3rd January 2022
Forum Theatre Billingham