In Profile began with the belief that there is a wealth of ensemble members working in the West End who are often sorely under-rated. The likes of Ramin Karimloo, Louise Dearman and John Owen Jones are adored by audiences both in the UK and internationally – and with good reason. They are hugely talented at what they do and fully deserve the recognition they receive for that, but with such brightly shining stars on the West End stages, the lesser-known names can be overlooked as a result. There are some hidden gems in their midst however; let’s not forget that those big stars were once exactly where they are. So In Profile was created to shine the spotlight on these talented performers that make up the ensembles of our West End shows and give them the recognition they also deserve – performers such as Laura Selwood.
After a two-year Musical Theatre course at Bridgend College, Welsh-born Selwood went on to study Acting at the University of Glamorgan for a further two years before being accepted at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. The renowned UK drama school has, of course, been the training ground for such stage stars as Julie Atherton, Jon Robyns and Leanne Jones. She spent three years honing her craft at Mountview, and in that time, was involved in a number of productions, including playing Magnolia in Showboat (New Theatre Cardiff) and Julie Jordan in Carousel (Bridewell Theatre), as well as being a principal singer in a rehearsed reading of Laurence Mark Wythe’s Jack Dagger. She graduated in 2005 with a 1st class BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre.
In her first professional role out of drama school, she joined the ensemble cast of Hair at The Gate Theatre where she covered the roles of Sheila and Chrissy. She then appeared in the production of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens at the Leicester Square Theatre, where she took on the demanding job of being a Swing. The role of Gianetta in Maid of the Mountains at Finborough Theatre soon followed, as did the role of Mandy Rice Davies in A Model Girl at the Greenwich Theatre.
In 2007, she had her first experience of life on the road when she was cast in the original UK Tour production of the Take That musical, Never Forget. Starring alongside such names as Dean Chisnall, Nancy Sullivan, Tim Driesen, Marilyn Cutts and Craig Els, she performed onstage as the character Bubbles and also covered the principal role of Chloe Turner.
It was the smash hit ABBA musical Mamma Mia! that marked Selwood’s big entrance into the West End. She became a member of the London cast at the Prince Wales Theatre in 2008 and stayed with the show for two years, playing bridesmaid Lisa and understudying the lead role of bride-to-be Sophie. After that, she appeared in the Union Theatre’s production of Bells Are Ringing in an ensemble capacity before returning to the West End to take on another big-name musical. The award-winning Ghost The Musical was one of the most successful shows to hit the West End in 2011, and also transferred to the boards of Broadway the following year. Selwood was in the original London cast of the screen-to-stage musical at the Piccadilly Theatre, which was led by Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy as lovers Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen. She had an ensemble role in the show and also understudied the lead female role of Molly, playing the part on a number of occasions for which she was widely acclaimed.
Since then, she has continued to add to her list of theatre credits. She journeyed overseas to star as Melissa in the world première of rock ‘n’ roll musical, Good Morning Hong Kong, which opened at the Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong on 16th May 2013, and also spent some time there as a teacher of singing and acting at Harrow International School. She was most recently seen as a backing singer for Kerry Ellis on her UK Tour, which played dates throughout October and November 2014 in Leicester, Birmingham, London, and many more. Rhydian Roberts was a special guest at the Birmingham Town Hall on 89h October 2014, while Louise Dearman joined Ellis at her concert performance in Stevenage on 14th October 2014. Joe McElderry and Woman the Band appeared onstage with Ellis for her final date of the tour, at London’s Cadogan Hall on 26th October 2014.
She has also performed as a solo vocalist in many other cabaret and concert events, such as Beyond The Barricades, Cabaret Evening and the winter showcase of Giggin4Good. I was actually in attendance at the latter, which was staged at The Actor’s Church, Covent Garden in 2012, and saw her singing a number from the new Welsh musical, My Land’s Shore, along with other MLS cast members Jonathan Williams, Kelly-Anne Gower, Sarah Lark, Alexis James, Gareth Richards and Kit Orton. She gave a stunning performance, which put her beautiful voice on display and showed that she has more than enough talent to take on a permanent leading role in the West End.
Her other achievements include holding a masterclass for Shine On Stage (2012) and teaching young children to dance (Ballet Bunnies/Jive Bunnies), as well as recording the song ‘This Dream’s Not For You’ for Danny Davies’ album, Hey Producer! She was one of the guest artists at a showcase and signing event held at Dress Circle on 7th April 2012.
She most recently took her first TV job, filming a guest lead for BBC’s long-running soap, Doctors.
In December 2014, she and her husband Chris embarked on a charity mission to Argentina. They climbed Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas, to raise money for Diabetes UK; not only did they meet their original target of £1,500, but exceeded it, to raise a total of £2,082.81.
Laura Selwood is a highly talented performer who has proven she has what it takes to be a West End star. Where her career takes her next remains to be seen, but wherever she goes, the Welsh songstress can only be a huge success.
You can follow Laura Selwood on Twitter: @LauraSelwood
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 17th January 2015