My First Audition: Lorna Gayle

Lorna Gayle. Photo: Fatimah Namdar Lorna Gayle. Photo: Fatimah Namdar
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My first audition was at Jill Freud’s apartment in central London for the tap-dancing play Stepping Out. I’d never tapped in my life but I was determined to grasp the opportunity. I put up a request on our school’s noticeboard asking if someone could lend me a pair of size 7 tap shoes and a lovely girl called Maggie from the year below came to my rescue.

I went to my dance tutor, Hugh, and asked him to teach me the basics of tap-dancing, which he did. I also watched the film starring Julie Walters (who happens to be one of my favourite actresses) and practised hard. When the audition day came Jill asked if I could tap and I told her I could. “So tap,” she said. I used to go to a lot of parties in my youth and would dance and dance until the sun rose. So that’s exactly what I did. I imagined I was listening to some dancehall reggae music and just started moving my feet and swinging my arms and spinning around – with my tap shoes on. I must admit, the clicking heels sounded really cool. When I think back, I must have looked like a jackass. I remember Jill and the director Anthony Falkingham laughing loudly.

What was on my side was the fact that my character, Rose, has two left feet, but by the end of the play she’s doing impressive tap sequences. Thankfully, I got the part and learnt a few good skills in the process. Since then, I have tried to apply that same ‘just have fun’ principle into all my auditions. It’s very important to enjoy the process, but I sometimes forget and get bogged down with a character and forget to enjoy. It’s easily done –sometimes, we are our own worst enemy.

CV: Lorna Gayle

Age: undisclosed
Training: Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts

Theatre includes: The Crucible (Royal Shakespeare Company), Blest Be the Tie, Sugar Mummies (Royal Court), Rudy’s Rare Records (Hackney Empire), Egusi Soup (Menagerie), Nation (National Theatre), I Was a Rat (UK tour), Carrie’s War (UK tour), To Kill a Mockingbird (Salisbury Playhouse), Guys and Dolls (West End)
TV includes: Fried, One Night, Silk, Cuckoo, This Is England ’86, Dancing on the Edge, Utopia, Torchwood, Ashes to Ashes, EastEnders, Holby City
Other credits: award-winning reggae singer (as Lorna Gee)
Agent: Identity Agency Group

Lorna Gayle was talking to John Byrne