Interview: Siôn Lloyd On Joining THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

By: Sep. 05, 2016
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Siôn Lloyd joins the 30th anniversary West End cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera in the role of Monsieur Firmin, beginning tonight. His past credits include Titanic (Charing Cross Theatre), Miss Atomic Bomb (St James Theatre), The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre), Avenue Q (Noel Coward Theatre) and the touring production of The Bodyguard.

What was your first theatre experience?

Besides a couple of vague panto experiences as a very young child, theatre came late to me. I guess Five Guys Named Mo was my first real experience of theatre - it was 1993 and I was 20!

When did you know acting was something you wanted to pursue professionally?

Probably not until I was 21 or 22. I struggled considerably at school and had no clear idea of what I would do career wise. Then, after a few years of amateur dramatics and youth theatre, a few friends said "You're not too bad at this - maybe you should consider training and doing it professionally."

It took my friends and family to say that for me to really consider it as a possible career. They were hugely supportive, probably because at that point in my life I had very little in the way of career prospects and they knew I'd found something that I loved and wasn't too bad at!

Where did you train?

I had an amazing three years at the Guildford School of Acting.

What was your first job in theatre?

My first job was at the old Players' Music Hall Theatre under Charing Cross Station. It was their Christmas traditional panto, and I mean traditional - the script was over a hundred years old and all in verse.

We ran for three months and it was terribly paid, but I didn't care as I was so happy to be working. I worked with some proper old school pros who taught me so much.

Do you consciously seek out a variety of work, and do you have any preference for types of music, shows, venues?

First and foremost, I'm an actor who loves to be working - for most of us jobbing actors a choice of jobs at the same time is a luxury that doesn't happen often. Having said that there have been occasions where I've turned jobs down. For example, jobs which, though financially rewarding, wouldn't have been particularly rewarding artistically, or jobs I would have loved to do but turned down because I couldn't actually afford to do them.

I think it can depend on your personal situation at the time you're offered a job. I was recently offered a great role in show I love that I wanted to do - it was an Off West End venue that was not greatly paid, but it was possible for me as I could afford to do it. Your personal situation can dictate your choices so much. It can be just as rewarding performing in a 2,000-seater as in a 200-seater.

When did you first see Phantom?

Way back in 2000.

How did the part of Monsieur Firmin come your way?

The usual way really - my agent would submit me for the role they consider me most suitable, if the casting director agrees you get a chance to audition. Of course we audition for many jobs. Thankfully this one has gone my way.

Did you study how past performers approached the role, or try to come to it fresh?

I always try to come to any role afresh. Of course on this occasion I have to appreciate that I am coming into an established hit show and there's a reason the show is a hit, so although I'd like to consider that I can bring something new to the role, I also understand that there are ingredients that have to be incorporated into the performance.

Is it intimidating taking on that iconic Lloyd Webber score?

Going into a truly classic show, playing an iconic role is always a little intimidating, but then I remember it's a job and a job I was cast in, so we have to forget the history and be professional like any other.

Why do you think the show has endured?

When you combine a truly incredible creative team with a great score and a great story you are always off to good start. Of course that doesn't always guarantee a hit show! I think the show broke new ground, captured the imagination and has been riding an amazing wave ever since.

What are the current team bringing to it? Any innovations or new takes?

The team will always want us to try and encourage us to bring a fresh energy to the production, but remembering that there's a reason it has lasted so well for so long.

Having said that we have been so fortunate to have Hal Prince come over to direct us and have Gillian Lynne not only change some of the choreography but add new choreography. It's so refreshing and confidence-building for a company to see the original creatives still so passionate about their production 30 years after opening!

Do you have any dream projects going forward?

For now, Phantom is kind of my life for at least a year. It would be great to maybe fit a few workshops in. As for future roles, I would love to take on the odd Sweeny Todd or John Proctor.

Finally, any advice to budding musical theatre performers?

My only real piece of advice would be to broaden your horizons beyond just musical theatre - it's a tough business and if you limit yourself to just thinking musical theatre it's even tougher. Embrace straight theatre, the classics, television and commercials, and even voiceovers. To survive in this business and work consistently, we have to embrace all aspects of it.

The Phantom of the Opera is currently booking at Her Majesty's Theatre until 4 March 2017

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