Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Interview with Rachel Spicer

Playing the lead female in one of the most well known love stories as her debut stage performance is a great feat for Rachel Spicer.

Freelance journalist, Jemma Crowston, caught up with the 22-year-old who will be playing Juliet in Pilot Theatre’s contemporary Romeo and Juliet at Curve, Leicester next month.

“I’ve played Lady Capulet before in a college play and I’ve done some scene work and monologues but this is a pretty amazing opportunity to play Juliet in my debut stage performance,” said Rachel.

The Londoner started touring with the other seven cast members in September and will be stopping at Curve in the midlands from Tuesday March 1 until Saturday March 12 before the show closes in Buxton in April.

The award-winning company Pilot Theatre will return to the city after the success of their production of Lord of the Flies in February 2009.

Their contemporary version of the classic love story uses the original text from Shakespeare but condensed to make the play more accessible. The stage props includes stunning visuals and the set, designed by Chloe Lamford (winner of Best Set design at the 2007 TMA awards) will be filled with over 600 bunches of silk flowers to create a 21st century scene for the love story to take place.

“The flowers are a powerful element to the whole show. Flowers are quite symbolic. They can represent death but can also be a token of love,” said Rachel.

This celebrated story of dangerous rivalries and secret loves will be brought to life in a fast-moving tale which will enthuse audiences of all ages with its exuberance, poetry and thrilling action. Pilot’s unique interpretation is perfect for introducing Shakespeare to younger audiences too.

Rachel, who graduated from RADA last July, will be playing Juliet alongside Oliver Wilson plays the role of Romeo, his theatre work includes: To Kill a Mocking Bird at Theatre Clwyd and on tour; All’s Well That Ends Well (National Theatre); THE RSC Poetry Festival (Stratford and London); Much Ado About Nothing (Derby Live) and This Child (Pilot Theatre at Albany Empire and Theatre Royal York).

Rachel said, “The cast are very close after touring together for months. Some audiences have commented on this and say it shines through the performance.

“It’s great working with all these professional actors who work really seriously but we all know how to have some laughs along the way too.”

Rachel embraces the idea of a contemporary version of the play by portraying her character, Juliet, in a thoroughly modern way. She said, “The way I portray Juliet is as a typical young teenager but she also comes across as a bit tom boyish so it’s quite modern.”

Rachel, who has had small parts in TV commercials and small production films before she went to drama school, said the show is set in the 21st century and could be set anywhere. She added, “Although we’re using the original text, we all have different accents so it could be set anywhere. I wear Top Shop clothes and in the fight scenes we use knives rather than swords so it’s very current.”

When asked what her favourite scene is, Rachel said, “I love the balcony scene but also any of the scenes with Juliet and her nurse because the relationship is so special. She’s like her mother, friend and sister and she’s her only ally in the show.”

Unlike most theatre shows, this production will include a continuous cutting edge, specially-commissioned soundtrack by composer Sandy Nuttgens, which is available to download on iTunes. Rachel said, “I don’t notice the music anymore because we’ve been rehearsing with it from the very beginning. The audience will either love it or hate it.”

After the show tour finishes in April, Rachel will be working on an audio monologue production for Pilot but hopes to start auditioning again too. She said, “I’m really excited to see what’s next.”

Rachel took part in drama activities in school and out of school clubs but it wasn’t until she met an inspirational teacher when she was 16-years-old that Rachel knew she wanted to be an actor. She said, “As corny as it sounds they opened my eyes to the magic and humanity of acting and all the possibilities within it. I loved the idea of a living which you can continue learning and growing so I summed up the courage and went to drama school.”

After several parts behind the camera I asked Rachel where her passion lies: TV or stage?
She said, “I’m in love with the craft. There’s a lot of difference between being on stage and working behind a camera on set but they’re both about telling stories and that’s where my passion lies.”

Romeo and Juliet is the last performance that audience members aged 12 – 26 can claim free tickets through the scheme - A Night Less Ordinary. To take advantage of this offer join Curve Young Company by calling 0116 242 3595.

To book tickets visit

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