As I mentioned in one of my blogs this week, the 85th Academy Awards ceremony are soon to be taking place in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California. Hosted by Seth McFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad), the prestigious event returns for another year to celebrate and recognise the crème da le crème of the big screen entertainment industry. The film-adaption of hit West End musical Les Miserables has been receiving some glowing reports, and subsequently, is nominated in seven categories in the 2013 Awards, including Best Picture, Music (Original Song) and Actor in a Leading Role for Hugh Jackman (X-Men films, Australia), who drives the story as ex-convict Jean Valjean. Stage and screen star Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, The Devil Wears Prada) was also given the nod for her raw and heartfelt performance as Fantine in the film, nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role – and deservedly so. What about the ‘supporting actresses’ performing night after night at the Queens Theatre in the West End stage production of Les Miserables though? The men and women in the show’s ensemble are simply brimming over with talent, and while In Profile may not exactly be the Academy Awards, it does serve the similar purpose of offering recognition for a job well done, so this week, I am nominating Les Mis cast member Mary Cormack in the Stage Actress in an Ensemble Role award.
Mary Cormack is a professional stage actress who grew up in the lush surroundings of Buckinghamshire and boarded at the Arts Educational School, Tring between the ages of 16-18. She moved to London at the age of 18, and since then, has completed a one year diploma in Acting/Musical Theatre at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and also trained at the Guildhall School of Acting. She graduated from the latter with a 1st class BA Hons. in Theatre in 2008 and was also the recipient of the GSA Director’s Award in both 2006 and 2008. During her time spent in training, Cormack appeared in a wide variety of theatrical productions, such as Hot Mikado (Ensemble), Pericles (Marina), Carousel (Mrs Mullins) and Chaplin (Ensemble). At the GSA, she performed as Ayah in The Secret Garden, Beebee in Suburbia, Val in A Chorus Line and Amy in Company.
Her first real role actually came in 2005 when she appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in A… My Name is Alice. Following her training at the GSA though, Cormack secured her first professional on-stage role playing the character of Charlotte in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Going straight in to the West End is a mighty achievement for a newly graduated performer. She stayed there for a year before moving on to try pastures new.
After playing Charlotte in the relatively smaller production of SSA at the Webber Douglas Theatre, she moved on to Bright Lights big city at Hoxton Hall in the role of Mary O’Brien McCann. It was the following year, in June 2011, that she returned to the West End and joined the company of Les Miserables. At her current home at the Queens Theatre, she plays a Crone/Urchin in her ensemble role and also covers Factory Girl. She can be just as proud of the Les Miserables film as she should be of the West End stage musical, having contributed her talents to both: Cormack played one of the Lovely Ladies (Sick Whore) in the red light section of the film.
Her other achievements include various voiceover credits, playing Alice in the short film Stairs and was a finalist in the 2008 BBC Radio Carleton Hobbs competition, receiving a commendation for Best Solo in the Shakespeare category.
The talented mezzo-soprano is a star in the making, with her on-stage skills as a dancer, singer and actress making her a true triple threat performer. Mary Cormack is an outstanding addition to the Les Miserables company and I have no doubt that as she progresses in her years, so will she in her career. There are great things ahead for this bright young star.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
You can follow Mary on twitter: (@marycormack)
Saturday 9th February 2013