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Grace Lancaster: 5 tips for actor-musicians in children’s shows

Grace Lancaster Grace Lancaster
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Grace Lancaster graduated from the actor musicianship course at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance this year. She regularly gigs as a saxophonist and vocalist and has performed at festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival. Grace is touring as Wendy in Tutti Frutti’s actor-musician production of Underneath a Magical Moon, a retelling of the Peter Pan story by Mike Kenny. Here are her five tips for actor-musicians in children’s shows…

1. Own your character through the instrument

Make the instrument part of your character. You can explore physicality with any instrument, no matter how big or small. Let it influence the way you move so it becomes an extension of your own body and you’ll find that you can create a strong character, which is extremely useful if you are performing multiple roles and need to distinguish your different characters.

2. Learn more instruments

Never shy away from learning something new, especially if it’s from a similar family of instruments: piano and accordion, guitar and mandolin. The more you play, the more doors are opened for creating and exploring musical styles in the rehearsal room.

3. Listen to each other

Work as a team, bounce ideas around and learn from each other. Each process will be different, but listening and learning from other musicians with different influences is invaluable. Challenge yourself and keep things fresh.

4. Boost your skills

When you’re in a long run of a show, challenge yourself during rehearsals with the parts you learn. Make them difficult and you’ll soon pick it up. By the end of the run, you’ll have much more confidence in your skill level and ability. And don’t forget to practise, even if it’s just a jam session with the cast between shows.

5. Take care

Look after your instruments. From contact with children to carting them around the country, take care. They are not the easiest (or cheapest) things to replace. So make sure that they get the TLC they deserve. After all, you wouldn’t have the job without them.

Underneath a Magical Moon plays at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, from December 8

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