In Profile began as a way of drawing attention to the often under-appreciated ensemble performers in the West End, who may not carry the same star power as the leading men and ladies of the stage, but are more than deserving of having their talent and contributions recognised as well. That’s why it’s so rewarding to see someone step out from the ensemble line and into the spotlight of a starring role, which is exactly what Emma Hatton has managed to do. Currently starring as green girl Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked, this talented actress is a great example of the heights of success that can be achieved by the featured ensemble members of In Profile.
Hatton was born and bred in Coleford, Gloucestershire, where from the age of three, she trained at the Jane Jarrett School of Dance. She discovered a love of acting through am-dram performances, which included playing the lead role of Sandy in a sixth form production of the musical Grease, as well as the roles of Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes and Trixie Martin in Daisy Pulls It Off as part of the Forest Theatre Musical School. After gaining her degree from Loughborough University, she enrolled on an intensive one-year Musical Theatre course at the London School of Musical Theatre (LSMT) and graduated with a Distinction in 2007. Her credits whilst training include Olivia in Twelfth Night and Twyla in When Midnight Strikes.
Her first major job out of drama school was in a Bill Kenwright touring production, where she was given the opportunity to originate the role of Donna in the brand new musical, Dreamboats and Petticoats. She spent five months on the road as a member of the touring company, with the additional duties of Dance Captain and understudy for the role of Sue, and made her West End début when the production subsequently transferred into the West End, opening at the Savoy Theatre before moving to the new location of the Playhouse Theatre.
A variety of minor stage roles followed after Dreamboats and Petticoats, including Ensemble/Dance Captain in Darling of the Day (National Gallery). She returned to the West End in 2009 after being cast in the smash hit Queen musical, We Will Rock You. She successfully auditioned in front of Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor, and the show’s writer Ben Elton, having tried out for the musical on several occasions previously, and finally became a member of the company as part of the ensemble team. She appeared on-stage at the Dominion Theatre as Teen Queen and was also 2nd Cover Scaramouche, and in her second year in the show, she became 1st Cover Scaramouche and Meat.
She left We Will Rock You in October 2013 and shortly after joined the West End production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria. She was Standby Elphaba for just over a year, and went on-stage in the star role on many occasions in that time due to a back injury sustained by the show’s lead, Willemijn Verkaik. She greatly raised her profile with her critically acclaimed performance as the green-skinned witch, which ultimately led her to taking on the iconic role permanently in February 2015, and this is where she can currently be found, starring opposite Savannah Stevenson (Glinda) in the lead role of Elphaba, one of musical theatre’s most coveted female roles.
Her other theatre credits include Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (Harlequin Theatre, Redhill), Lead Soloist in Hold Tight It’s 80’s Night, Ensemble/Dance Captain in Darling of the Day (Ondaatje Theatre), Vanessa in Heaven Sent (New Wimbledon Theatre), Caroline Trenchard in Uncle Eric’s White Christmas and Lady Montague in A Comedy of Eric’s (New Vic Theatre) and Christmas in New York (Apollo Theatre). She also features on the original cast recording of Dreamboats and Petticoats, as well as the cast recording of When Midnight Strikes and It’s Just The Beginning: The Songs of Charles Miller and Kevin Hammonds.
She is also an ardent supporter of the British Heart Foundation and has organised and performed two concerts (Songbirds, in 2013 and 2014) as part of her fundraising efforts for the charity, as well as running the London Marathon and presenting work.
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. One can only hope that her current role in Wicked is the first of many more West End leading lady roles to come.
You can follow Emma on Twitter: @emmahatton1
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25)
Saturday 8th August 2015