In celebration of its 10th anniversary, hit musical We Will Rock You is embarking on a world arena tour in 2013. The jukebox musical, written by Ben Elton and based on the songs of Queen, opened at the Dominion Theatre on 14th May 2002 and has had audiences rocking out ever since. Lauren Samuels, Lucie Jones, Rolan Bell and Rob Castell have already been announced in the principal roles of ‘Scaramouche’, ‘Meat’, ‘Brittany’ and ‘Pop’ respectively for the arena tour, where they’ll be performing classic Queen hits such as ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘We Are The Champions’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – not forgetting the title track of course.
While a world arena tour is news to get excited about, the West End production, led by Oliver Tompsett as ‘Galileo’ and Rachel Wooding as ‘Scaramouche’, is still thrilling audiences on a nightly basis. Tompsett and Wooding, along with the remainder of the principal and ensemble cast, are an undoubtedly talented bunch; which is why one ensemble member is to be featured in this week’s In Profile. That ensemble member is Emma Hatton.
Hatton is a Gloucestershire girl, born and bred in Coleford, who followed her dreams of performing on stage all the way from the Forest. From the age of three, she trained at the Jane Jarrett School of Dance and discovered a love of acting through school productions, such as a sixth form production of Grease where she played the lead role of ‘Sandy’. As part of the Forest Theatre Musical School, she performed in Anything Goes (Hope Harcourt) and Daisy Pulls It Off (Trixie Martin) before leaving for University. She returned however, to play ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in My Fair Lady. After gaining her degree from Loughborough University, she enrolled on a one-year Musical Theatre course at the London School of Musical Theatre where she graduated with a Distinction in 2007. During her time there, she appeared in productions of Twelfth Night (Olivia) and When Midnight Strikes (Twyla) and work-shopped the musicals Les Miserables (Fantine) and Evita (Ensemble).
After leaving LSMT, her first role was in ‘When Midnight Strikes’ at the Finborough. She then played ‘Fairy Godmother’ in Cinderella at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill and performed as a lead soloist at a number of corporate events, such as Hold Tight It’s 80’s Night. In 2009, she was offered the role of ‘Donna’ on the Bill Kenwright UK touring production of Dreamboats and Petticoats, where she also covered the role of ‘Sue’ and was the show’s dance captain. The musical transferred to the West End after five months of touring, and Hatton came with it, making her West End debut.
She followed Dreamboats and Petticoats with a number of different stage roles, including: ‘Ensemble/Dance Captain’ in Darling of the Day (National Gallery), ‘Vanessa’ in Heaven Sent (New Wimbledon Studios) and ‘Caroline Trenchard’ in Uncle Eric’s White Christmas and ‘Lady Eleanor Montague’ in A Comedy of Eric’s (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme). She also sang at further events, performing a range of musical genres such as rock n’ roll, jazz and pop/soul, along with musical theatre.
Having auditioned for the musicalon previous occasions, Hatton joined the We Will Rock You company after auditioning in front of Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor, as well as the show’s writer Ben Elton. As a member of the ensemble, she plays the role of ‘Teen Queen’ and is also first cover for the principal roles of ‘Scaramouche’ and Meat. In an interview with a local newspaper from home – The Forester – Hatton told of her delight at joining the show, saying: “Most lead roles start out covering. I’m really enjoying being in the ensemble, and next year I hope to start making my way up the ladder.”
Hatton almost gave up on a career on the stage at one point, staying away from theatre for six months. It was seeing We Will Rock You that made her realise she wasn’t ready to surrender just yet and many would agree it is a very good thing she didn’t. In a 2010 review of Dreamboats and Petticoats, Whatsonstage.com described her as ‘engaging’ and went on to deliver her high praise indeed. The following quote appears at one point:
“Delivers standout vocals, nailing each and every song, and proves to be truly deserving of better roles in the future.”
I couldn’t put it any better myself.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 15th December 2012
You can follow Emma on twitter: (@emmahatton1).