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Actor Candice Palladino: ‘Things started happening when I put my all into everything’

Candice Palladino Candice Palladino

As part of an initiative to support new work, Candice Palladino will be performing in the Actors Centre’s inaugural John Thaw Season. She discusses her cabaret show Daisy May Is Breaking In, about a women who sings to death-row prisoners, with Giverny Masso

How did Daisy May Is Breaking In come about?

It’s a character-based cabaret show about a fictional girl called Daisy May, who is from the American South. She’s so close to me, sometimes I talk about her as if she were real. It all started with the cabaret module in my master’s course. We were given 25 minutes to put on a show with one character. I really wanted to push the envelope with my performance, and I’d just seen [the film] Walk the Line and had fallen in love with [the biopic’s subject] Johnny Cash. He performed for men in prisons, and I thought, ‘Wow, that is amazing.’ It made me wonder: who is the kind of person who is going to do that, and what are their motivations?

How has this opportunity to showcase the work-in-progress helped you?

It warms my soul. There are scratch nights that are invaluable for people, but having a 15-to-20-minute slot wasn’t going to help me as I wanted to focus on her character development and her art. I was really looking for a place where I could do the whole show and get feedback. When I saw this opportunity, I thought: ‘It’s a sign.’ They [the Actors Centre] want to develop people who dare to create.

Tell me about your journey to where you are now since graduating from university.

I graduated in 2010, and I was a very lazy person. I’m not proud of that. I chose sitting on my couch eating crisps instead of going to find opportunities. I did some travelling, and ended up moving back to New York. I started working in an admin role at a theatre company. I didn’t have a spark any more and I was sad, because I wasn’t performing. After I moved back here in 2014, I thought, ‘The only way I can get back into it is if I really give it my all.’ And ever since I got fully back into it, I haven’t stopped.

What happened next?

I did three US commercials for haircare products, and I won best actress for my role as Ashley in [2017 film] The Getaway at the Actors Awards film festival. Things started happening because I was putting my all into everything.

What are your ambitions?

No matter what, I want to support myself doing what I love. I want to stick to something that makes me happy. Right now, performing is it. As an artist, I just want to make people feel something and ask questions, start a conversation, and have them get lost in whatever I am doing.

CV: Candice Palladino

Training: BA in Dance and Theatre at New York’s Tisch School of the Arts (2005);
MA in Musical Theatre at Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (2010)
First professional role: Carrie in Everybody Dies at Planet Connections Theater Festival, New York (2009)
Agent: Infinity Artist Management

Daisy May Is Breaking In will run at the John Thaw Studio at the Actors Centre in London on March 16, as part of a season of new work