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Actor Hayley Tamaddon: ‘Since my first audition, I’ve always tried to be off book’

Hayley Tamaddon. Photo: Sam Cox Hayley Tamaddon. Photo: Sam Cox
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My first professional job was Fame the Musical in 1997. It was for the UK tour with a West End transfer. I got The Stage every week when I was at college, so I was always on top of what was going on in the industry. The audition section at the back was my favourite bit – it always got me excited about what my first job might be.

Fame was an open audition – the queue went around the block. They put us in groups of 50. It was like that famous scene from A Chorus Line. We all had to hand in our headshot and CV, and when I looked around, I was the smallest girl there.

I thought, ‘If I want this job, I’ll have to have to stand out.’ So I plonked myself in the middle of the front row – a row of extremely tall girls. It must have looked hilarious, but it worked. There was an hour’s dance call, learning a difficult routine (some of which I struggled with). Then they started calling out names of people to stay behind and sing. When they called my name, I could have cried. I had got through the first stage of the audition.

They asked me to look over some songs and scripts for the parts of Carmen, Serena and Mabel. When I went back the next day, they said it was fine to read from the script, but I told them: “It’s okay – I’ve learned it.” It turns out that was a good thing to do and I landed the job: first cover Carmen, first cover Serena and second cover Mabel.

To this day, I always try to be off book, especially for TV castings. It’s important to do your prep – it lets the casting director know you take your job and the part seriously.

But be kind to yourself. Learn to accept rejection and use it as a positive thing. If someone says ‘no’ to you, come back better and stronger to the next casting. It will give you a thick skin, which you need in this industry.

CV: Hayley Tamaddon

Age: 41
Training: Laine Theatre Arts

Theatre includes: Fame (UK tour and West End), Mamma Mia! (West End), A Chorus Line (Sheffield Crucible), Spamalot (UK tour), Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK tour)
Television includes: Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Where the Heart Is, The Royal, Shameless, The Accused.
Agent: Hatch Talent

Hayley Tamaddon plays the title role in the current national tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She was talking to John Byrne

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