Interview with Georgie Burdett
Georgie is performing as Marjorie in the cast of the stage premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pipe Dream which is showing at the Union Theatre from 31st July to 31st August 2013.
Georgie took time out from rehearsals to answer some questions about herself and Pipe Dream. This is what she had to say.
You studied at the Guildford School of Acting gaining a BA Hons Degree in Musical Theatre. What were the main highlights of your time at the GSA?
Well aside from the lifelong friends I made I’d have to say it was getting to the end of our second year and working with Kenn Oldfield on a musical called ‘Working’ by Stephen Shwartz. It concentrates on the working class person and I played the role of a housewife. I remember my parents coming to watch and my dad being really moved by my performance as it highlighted all the ways in which his mum (my grandma) had been a housewife and worked really hard every day for the family and never asked for thanks or made a fuss. It was the first time I realised I had the ability to move someone through acting and song.
Since graduating you have performed various roles. Which one stands out as being the most enjoyable?
It would have to be the most recent show I had the pleasure of being involved in ‘Crazy for You’ at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Not only were the cast and creative team a dream to work with but I also had the opportunity to play a hyperactive, ditzy follies girl called Mitzi which meant lots of tap dancing and high energy dance numbers. I was also lucky to play the role of Polly for a few performances which has to be a huge highlight for me. Being able to sing iconic songs like “I’ve got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me” were definitely a pinch yourself to check you’re not dreaming moments. Polly is pretty feisty and I loved the dynamics you could bring to a scene with her strong attitude but still have times when you could stop and show her more girly sensitive side.
You performed in the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2012. Can you tell us about the experience?
I love Brighton, as it is the perfect blend of city and costal life. After growing up in Cornwall it was perfect to get a mix of the two while I was involved in the festival. I was with a company called Voodoo Vaudeville directed by Chris Cresswell, and ‘The Murder Musical’ and ‘Egyptian Music Hall’ were a fantastic blend of burlesque/musicals/comedy and cabaret. It really taught me to let go of my inhabitations and not to be afraid of looking grotesque. (I played a dead doll at one point!) It was a strange, quirky experience but that’s what the festival is about, it is very experimental and you never quite know what to expect. I highly recommend you taking a peak!
As well as being a stage actress you have also worked on commercials and modelling for fashion photography. Do you have a career path that you have planned out or just make each choice as it comes along?
I think in this industry you have to keep all your options open, I feel like I am always learning through every new job. To begin with I had always imagined modelling to be the classic ‘girls walking down a catwalk’ image but when I was approached by Danny Fitz to model for his dance photography shoot it opened up my eyes to the possibilities of other modelling work such as make up, fitness or dance. It is nice to be able to step back and see the finished product which is a bit different to stage acting. My main passion and drive will always be towards musical theatre but I love to try and expand my skills as much as possible, I’m a bit of a yes ‘man’! So who knows where that will lead!
You are appearing as Marjorie in Pipe Dream at The Union Theatre from 31st July – 31st September 2013. What are you looking forward to most about being in the show?
I am so excited about Pipe Dream, it is the London premiere so we have a fresh canvas to work with. Performing at the Union Theatre is one of the things I am looking forward to, after watching so many great shows there; it is such a great space and is really fitting for this show. This is one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s least known musicals so I am keen for people to fall in love with the score as much as I did, the songs are just beautiful and fantastic to sing. Oh and playing a woman on the streets means it will be great to not wash for a month (only joking!)
What can you tell us about your character Marjorie and how she fits into the storyline?
Marjorie is a lady of the night and she works at The Palace Flophouse with the other girls under the watchful eye of Fauna (Verge Gilchrist) – she is a brash, vocal girl who hasn’t really had everything she wanted in life which has landed her working on the streets to live. She has every intention to leave and make a better life for herself but I doubt that will ever happen. She and the other girls look out for each other and when Suzy (Charlotte Scott) arrives in town they aren’t really sure what to make of her and her interest in Doc (Kieran Brown).
Why should everyone come along to see the show?
The score of the show mixed with the enthusiastic cast is the selling point for me, I love Rodgers and Hammerstein and Pipe Dream is packed full of punchy, energetic and cheeky ensemble numbers as well as touching sentimental solo moments. It really is a beautiful surprise so get booking those tickets!
Looking further ahead in your career would you like to see yourself as an established triple threat performer or is there one area that you would really like to focus on?
A musical theatre performer really is the dream for me, I feel like everything is a stepping stone and to be established in this industry is a long journey but If you’re determined and work at your craft you will get there eventually – which is kind of where I am at the moment! I absolutely love the older classic musicals. To be involved with Calamity Jane would be a dream come true for me! Its great to see more of the older musicals being reworked on the fringe at the moment.
Away from the stage what do you like to do to chill out?
If you ask anyone that knows me they will say I never chill out but when I’ve got some spare time I am either scanning the pages of Time Out magazine for some free random events to attend, exploring London as there is always something to do, or with the weather being so great I have spent a lot of time in the parks and using Boris bikes (well done Boris!) and of course you can’t beat going to watch a show to really relax and be inspired.
Have you any message for those following your career?
Sometimes you can get bit lost and it’s not always going to be easy but no matter how hard it gets if you really want it you’ll make it happen. Be true to yourself and keep learning, talk to people and no matter what, keep smiling as it will get you through any situation… Almost!
You can follow Georgie Burdett on Twitter @georgieburdett
Interview questions by Neil Cheesman @LondonTheatre1
Pipe Dream is at the Union Theatre
Friday 26th July 2013