Interview: Hayley Tamaddon On Playing Roxie In CHICAGO

By: Sep. 15, 2016
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Actress Hayley Tamaddon's numerous screen and stage credits include Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Spamalot and The Rocky Horror Show. She's currently starring as jazz-hot murderess Roxie Hart in the UK touring production of Kander and Ebb's Chicago, alongside John Partridge, Sophie Carmen-Jones and Jessie Wallace.

What was your first theatre experience?

I started dance class when I was two, and started doing local pantomimes from four years old. I loved the theatre!

When did you know you wanted to pursue acting professionally?

When I was 11 I sent off for the Sylvia Young brochure without telling my mum. When it arrived she said, "What's this?" I told her I wanted to leave home and go to Sylvia Young Theatre School. Bearing in mind I lived in Blackpool, which is miles away from London. She said, "Iff you still want to perform when you're 16, then you can go to stage school", and I did. Best Mum ever!

Where did you train?

When I turned 11 I went to Phil Winston's theatre school in Blackpool. And then at 16 I went to Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom.

Do you try to do a balance of stage and screen roles, and is it challenging switching between the two?

I feel blessed that I've managed to switch between the two. It doesn't always happen like that. I love both, but I'd like to do some more television. And maybe film, who knows!

How familiar were you with Chicago before taking the role? Had you seen lots of different productions, the movie?

Oh yes. It's my dream role! I've wanted to play Roxie for 20 years, and I'm finally doing it.

Is it intimidating going into such an iconic role?

Well, there's always that pressure of doing it justice. It's such a great female role and it's been played in so many ways.

What do you think you bring to Roxie?

Comedy and a quirkiness that I hope people enjoy. My director told me to watch the original movie Roxie Hart, and I took a lot of inspiration from that.

Is it enjoyable as an actress to explore some of those darker aspects?

Yes. I love getting my teeth into the gritty bits!

What's your favourite number to perform?

I love doing my monologue. I sometimes get carried away and it feels like I'm in someone's living room telling them a story.

It's a full on triple-threat show - was it a challenge getting up to speed with e.g. the dance routines?

Haha! It's been a number of years since I've had to kick my legs around, but yes, I seem to be coping! You can let me know what you think when you come to see the show.

Is it tough maintaining that performance during a long tour?

We do get tired, and injured a lot, as it's quite a physical show, but once you get on the stage you just seem to forget about it all. It's like escaping from the real world for a couple of hours.

What do you think Chicago says to audiences today, and why has it endured?

The story of Chicago is way ahead of its time. It's about celebrity, reality, fame and greed. We live with that every day in this country.

Would you like to do more theatre in future? Any dream roles?

Ah, there's a couple, I always wanted to play Sally Bowles. I love comedy characters.

Finally, any tips for budding actresses?

Stick with it. Get a good acting coach. Learn to take rejection. It takes a thick skin to be an actor.

See full UK tour dates for Chicago

Photo credit: Catherine Ashmore