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Lowri-Ann Richards: cabaret performer

Welsh actress, singer, cabaret and music hall performer Lowri-Ann Richards trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and also has an MA in actor coaching from Central School of Speech and Drama. Her pop-infused cabaret show Whatever Happened to LaLa Shockette? is based on her colourful life, which includes chart success and interactions with names as diverse as Steve Strange and Danny La Rue

What first attracted you to performing?

A lot of Welsh people will pour out the eisteddfod or chapel slogan but at a very, very young age my sister and I really did have to learn verses from the Bible in high or complicated Welsh and recite them at chapel. Performing or learning poetry or singing on your own at a very early age is what Welsh people just did; I sang in eisteddfods. I had very good drama and singing teachers at school and regularly won speech and drama festivals. I got into Webber Douglas [1]at 18 and that was it.

Did you have any formal music training?

I studied with the opera singer Jeffrey Talbot [2]. He’s a bit of a secret but a lot of West End people go to him. He was signed to EMI and called ‘the Golden Voice’. People study with him and don’t go to, say, the Royal Academy. He gave me a very good classical grounding.

How did you start doing music hall?

I did the pop business and was really fortunate that I did a lot of telly – sitcoms and Welsh soaps – for about 10 years after drama school. It was nice money but the work started to dip slightly and I got a job doing old-fashioned music hall at the Players’ Theatre and was with them for years. I did four American tours with them. It was just gorgeous. And I did a lot at Brick Lane Music Hall. [3]

Shockette is quite personal. Was that your intention?

I’ve done a lot of things in my life. You can tell your story through song, but I didn’t want it to be predictable. I wanted to do something different and interesting and also to put the audience slightly on the back foot. So I feed them information and then back that up with a visual of some sort, which may or may not be true. It’s clearly not me because I talk in a fairly outlandish North Wales accent, but parts of it are personal. I’m interested in keeping an audience guessing.

What has been your career highlight so far?

I’ve sailed round the world three times on the trot. I’ve certainly worked with some amazing people – I played Sian Phillips’ daughter in the musical Summer Silence – but Shockette I really love because it pulls all my skills together. I’d love a run in a venue like the Trafalgar Studios and to tour it.

Whatever Happened to LaLa Shockette? is at London’s Sanctum Hotel [4] from May 15-18, and at theSpace @ Symposium Hall, Edinburgh from August 18-23

www.lowriannrichards.com [5]