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My first job: Emma Hatton – ‘Work hard and be nice. You are never too good for any job’

Emma Hatton as Eva Peron in Evita at the Phoenix Theatre, London. Photo: Pamela Raith Emma Hatton as Eva Peron in Evita at the Phoenix Theatre, London. Photo: Pamela Raith
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My first job was the role of Twyla in the Finborough Theatre production of a show called When Midnight Strikes, written by the wonderful Charles Miller and Kevin Hammonds. I had played the same role in my college production a few months prior and, at our end-of-course party, the composer and producers asked me if I would be interested in playing the role when it went to the Finborough.

I was completely blown away. It was a beautiful show set in an apartment in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, 1999 and there were 12 cast members, who portrayed a mixed bag of personalities. Each role was equally featured so, for my first role, I was thrilled to have such a great showcase and responsibility.

I have such fond memories of this job not least because it was my first true professional experience, but for so many other reasons. The Finborough was such a great space with a brilliant reputation. I was the youngest cast member by quite a big margin and was taken under the wings of my fellow cast mates. I looked up to them and had followed a few of their careers beforehand, namely Shona White who had just finished as standby Elphaba and who continues to be a wonderful mentor and friend to me, and my college drama teacher, Susan Raasay.

Knowing that I was going to be working alongside people whom I held in such high esteem was daunting, but I can honestly say that any unhealthy nerves were put to bed, because I was immersed in such a supportive, encouraging, friendly and talented team.

Looking back, I don’t think I would change anything… except perhaps drink more water and cut down on coffee. I learned that every person involved in a production is equally as important to the smooth running of the show. I also learned to work hard and be nice to people – you are never too good for any job. Being slightly older and working with graduates and younger, fresh talent now, I make it a priority to be as kind, supportive and encouraging to them as I can be. I wouldn’t be where I am without those people who showed me such support.

Emma Hatton

Trained: London School of Musical Theatre
Theatre includes: Eva Peron in Evita (currently Phoenix Theatre and UK and international tour), State Fair (Cadogan Hall), Wicked (Apollo Victoria), We Will Rock You (Dominion) Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK tour)
Agent: Global Artists

Emma Hatton is playing Eva Peron in Evita at the Phoenix Theatre London. She was talking to John Byrne