Making her professional acting debut in Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Sleeping Beauty, Ericka Posadas tells Giverny Masso why, as a female Asian performer, she is determined to defy stereotypes in her career…
What was it like to be cast in the title role of Sleeping Beauty?
This is my first professional acting role. I remember auditioning and thinking it was an amazing opportunity. I got into theatre because I was very interested that there were not many platforms to show Asian women in a way that’s not submissive or passive. I wanted to do theatre to defy the stereotype of what I am. I was absolutely delighted to get this part. As my first role, it’s fulfilling that dream of not being a stereotype. To build the character, I looked at strong and carefree women in my life.
What is your favourite thing about this production?
Theatre Royal Stratford East is so diverse. I’m standing next to a wall with pictures of people who have performed here and I can see so many variations. It’s so empowering as a woman of colour see that.
How did you get into theatre?
I got into acting quite recently after studying it at A level alongside law.Then I took a gap year and went home to the Philippines – it was the first time I’d been back in 10 years. After that. I did a musical theatre course at the Musical Theatre Academy.
What choreography work have you done?
I did some choreography at the Bunker Theatre in London as part of the InMotion Festival. I explored immigration issues with hip hop and contemporary choreography. I just like to create. I really admire the work of Emma Portner, who choreographed Bat Out of Hell. I also love Hamilton because it’s so interesting when you mix different dance styles.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge was the personal and cultural side of being an actor – the isolation. I was brought up in a Filipino community in which everyone is expected to become a nurse or a doctor. That was hard to push through. And as a woman roles are limited for me – more so as a woman of colour and especially as an Asian woman of colour, because often ‘diversity’ can be seen as a black-and-white issue. We need more roles to be written, but also for roles to be looked at through more open eyes. Sleeping Beauty is often thought of as the blonde one from Disney. I’m so grateful that Theatre Royal Stratford East was open to casting me.
What are your aims in the future?
I’m open to working on anything in the future. My agent is putting me up for lots of straight plays, musicals, film and TV. For me, it’s not about the genre – it’s the story and the characters. I don’t come from a theatre background, so I’m like a moth to a flame and I’m drawn to roles that make me curious. One musical I’d love to be in is West Side Story – I feel it’s so relevant now.
Training: Musical theatre diploma at Musical Theatre Academy (2016-18)
First professional role: Sleeping Beauty at Theatre Royal Stratford East (2018)
Agent: Brooke Kinsella at Intertalent
Sleeping Beauty runs at Theatre Royal Stratford East until January 12