At the time of the interview, Lauren was performing as part of the Ensemble and Understudy for Scaramouche and Meat in We Will Rock You at The Dominion Theatre London.
Lauren began her career at the age of three at the Julie Sianne Theatre Arts where she subsequently gained a scholarship to continue her training at Laine Theatre Arts, Epsom. She graduated early as she was cast in Disney’s High School Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Lauren’s professional career has continued to impress including understudying roles such as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel at the Savoy Theatre, Gabriella Montez in High School Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo, and Penny Pingleton in Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Earlier this week I asked Lauren some questions about herself and her career.
You trained at the Julie Sianne Theatre and Laine Theatre, what are your favourite memories of that time?
I loved my time at both these places. Julie Sianne Theatre Arts was such a wonderful place to start my training, and my best memory has to be Festivals (Dance School competitions). I loved them because you got to meet all your friends from the other dance schools around your area, some of which I am still friends with now and even went to college with and have worked with. We had such a laugh. It was a competition but always fun – and Laine Theatre Arts I loved so much, I got to experience some amazing teachers and their choreography. I have so many great memories of these places I can’t write them all down.
What was your first stage appearance?
My first stage appearance was in my annual show at Julie Sianne Theatre Arts. I was 3 or 4 and we did a section from South Pacific if I remember right – I came on and did some skips in a little pink costume- and was trying to tell all the other girls what to do (bossy boots) on stage! I have it on camera, it’s hilarious.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Performing on stage with Brian May for the 9th Anniversary! It was AMAZING!
What is it like performing in We Will Rock You?
Unbelievable. I watched the show when I was at Laine Theatre Arts Summer School when it first opened, and then watched it over and over again – and I sat there with a friend and I said to him, “I want to be in this show one day” – and to be able to say I am in it is such an achievement. Seeing the smiles from the audience and hearing their laughter is just awesome.
You understudy the parts of Scaramouche and Meat, could you describe those characters?
I am 1st cover ‘Meatloaf‘. I love this character because she is feisty, womanly sexy and very self assured. The leader of the rebels, along with her man ‘Britney’ but she fights to be in control over ‘Britney‘. She is very passionate about what the rebels believe in. And such a great character to play, (maybe me being bossy on stage when I was young got me in character to cover Meatloaf) haha!
I’m also 2nd Cover Scaramouche, soon to be 1st – She is not very like me at all, she is funny (Which I am not! lol) very dry, and sarcastic. I love playing her because she is totally the opposite of me, so it’s nice to be someone completely different on stage and then come off and be un-funny old me! It’s always great fun.
As an understudy how do you prepare yourself to be ready to perform any of your roles at short notice?
Well we get understudy rehearsals maybe once every month, so this keeps everything fresh, but when it’s last minute we just have to be ready – we’ve had rehearsals and run throughs so we just have to know exactly what were doing so we can go on at any given moment!
What are your favourite songs and dance routines in We Will Rock You?
My favourite songs are No One But You and Hammer to Fall they are just the best to perform.
I love One Vision, I don’t do it but I think it looks so good!
Apart from We Will Rock You, is there a role in a particular musical that you would love to play?
Oh yes- I’d love to play lots of roles, some of which are Elphaba, Glinda (Wicked), Elle Woods (Legally Blonde), Jayne (Tarzan), and many many more! Hopefully it’ll happen one day.
How does performing in We Will Rock You compare with working in Hairspray and Carousel?
It’s very different because almost like when I did High School Musical 1 at Hammersmith – it’s like a concert, where as the audiences were extremely different on carousel because the target audience was different and they were a lot more reserved, and Hairspray they were loud and fun like the show. So they were very different, it just amazes me how the audiences at Rock You are like they are at a proper rock concert. It’s great fun!
What is it that you enjoy most about performing in a West End musical?
Fun! Fun! Fun! It’s so much fun – I get to work with wicked people, and I do a job I absolutely love. It’s the West End which has been a dream of mine for like EVER!
Anything else you might like to add about you or your career?
I hope I can do some more of these interviews again one day when hopefully I’ll have been in some more shows and have even more to say!
Thanks Lauren for taking time to answer a few questions. Best wishes for We Will Rock You and the future!
You can follow Lauren on Twitter at @laurenvarnham
Interviewed by Neil who you can follow on Twitter @LondonTheatre1
28th July 2011