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Interview with Julian Capolei from Sinbad the Sailor

Sinbad the Sailor at Theatre Royal Stratford East Michael Bertenshaw (Prince Naw-Ze Uzz) and Julian Capolei (Sinbad)
Sinbad the Sailor at Theatre Royal Stratford East Michael Bertenshaw (Prince Naw-Ze Uzz) and Julian Capolei (Sinbad) Credit Sharron Wallace

With a tradition of featuring original music, hilarious audience participation, and comedy for all ages, it’s no surprise that a Theatre Royal Stratford East pantomime is one of the best in London. With heaps of surprises along the way, join Sinbad and his friends on a voyage to mysterious places as they strive to successfully complete their perilous quest.

Interview with Julian Capolei from Sinbad the SailorJulian Capolei plays Sinbad. This production marks his professional acting debut. Julian recently took time out to answer a few questions about his career and Sinbad!

Q: This is your professional acting debut. In brief – how have you got ‘here’?
Julian: I started training at a really young age, I was a chorister in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and I was also the first male member of the Irish National Youth Ballet Company, along with instrument and drama lessons it made for a very busy childhood. At the age of 18, I moved to Glasgow to study a performance degree in Musical Theatre along with Alto Saxophone at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I spent my three years working hard and by the end, I was pleased to sign with Simon & How, a London-based agency. It’s been a long road to securing my first job here in London but I’ve enjoyed every 7 day week and 13 hour day along the way!

Q: What can you tell us about your audition process?
Julian: The audition process began for me at the end of the Summer when I sent off some audition tapes to the casting team after which I was invited down to London to formally audition. I was auditioned by the whole creative team including the director Kerry Michael. It was actually a lovely experience, despite the 25-degree heat of the Summer, and I was over the moon to find out I actually got the part.

Q: What are you looking forward to most in playing the part of Sinbad?
Julian: I’m really looking forward to portraying a different type of male protagonist in this panto. Sinbad is perhaps not exactly what he says on the tin and it’s been great playing with that illusion. It’s great to see characters like this being created in traditional theatre right now. It’s a real celebration of all types of people and I’m delighted to be a part of it. I’ve had so much fun and freedom playing with the character, it’s been such a treat.

Q: What’s your dream role?
Julian: My dream role would probably be the Emcee in Cabaret or Claude in Hair, I’d also love to play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice-but I think I’ll be waiting awhile before I’m suitable.

Q: Why should everyone get along to see Sinbad?
Julian: Everyone should get along to see Sinbad because it really is a one of a kind show. It’s a really original story with fresh themes and characters that most traditional stories don’t have to offer. It celebrates the unsung hero and has real dramatic growth while also being very funny! The music is original as well so it really had a lot to offer. The cast are really diverse and talented and the show is also very accessible with signed, captioned, audio described and relaxed performances. It really is a show for everyone.

Interview by Neil Cheesman

Theatre Royal Stratford East presents SINBAD THE SAILOR
Book and Lyrics by Paul Sirett
Music and Lyrics by Wayne Nunes and Perry Melius
Director: Kerry Michael; Designers: Jenny Tiramani & Harriet Barsby;
Musical Director: Robert Hyman; Lighting Designer: David Plater; Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson
Special Effects: Scott Penrose

28th November 2016 – 21st January 2017
Press performances: 8, 9 or 10 December 7pm
Sinbad the Sailor by Paul Sirett. He directs Johnny Amobi (Nurse), Michael Bertenshaw (Prince Naw-Ze Uzz), Julian Capolei (Sinbad), Rina Fatania (Green Genie Uzz), Ben Goffe (Sultan), Alim Jayda (Captain Greenbeard), Josephine Melville (Clanker), Marianna Neofitou (Princess), Gemma Salter (Funky) and Gabby Wong (Sinbadda).
The production runs from 28 November, until 21 January, with press performances on 8, 9,10 December.


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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