Stagedoor Discussions: Rochelle Bisson and Caroline Hanks-Farmer

The last discussion of 2015 is with Rochelle Bisson and Caroline Hanks-Farmer. We talked about their favourite theatre venues, actors to look out for, and must-see shows for this season. If you missed the previous ones, check out Discussion #1 and Discussion #2.

First off: Rochelle Bisson.

[Evi Triantafyllides] Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 24 years old from SE London. I work in PR & Content Marketing and also do amateur dramatics in my spare time.

How did you first get involved with theatre?
My parents took me to see Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat when I was about six years old and I was hooked! It is still my favourite musical to this day. I have been dancing since a really young age, so I eventually moved on to performing in musicals at school. Now, during my spare time, I perform in shows with local societies.

How do you know when something is “good material” for your blog, worth reviewing / featuring?
I like to give everything a chance. I try to say yes to as much as I can and in this way, get exposed to different experiences. Some of my best nights at the theatre came from random shows that I thought would be terrible! I mainly focus on musicals though, as that is my passion. I think the key to good content is making sure it appeals to your audience, but at the same time that you enjoy writing about it. There’s no point in writing just for the sake of it — the best blogs I read have an obvious passion that shines through and the bloggers clearly know their stuff.

Favorite theatre venue / hidden gem (think fringe)?
I love the Prince Edward Theatre, but then again, when I have to think of a hidden gem, the King’s Head Theatre is really charming and puts some really interesting theatre on stage.

Prince Edward heatre, London W1D 4HS

Upcoming actor to look out for?
She’s done some great work already but I really want to see more of Carolyn Maitland. She’s recently understudied for Ellen in Miss Saigon but I would love to see her in a permanent West End leading role — she shines on stage!

Carolyn Maitland.

Recommended show for this season?
It’s been around for a while but if you haven’t seen it I would totally recommend Miss Saigon before it closes in February. A stunning show with some of the best performers in the West End right now. I have also heard great things about the Hairspray tour this year that’s transferred from Leicester Curve.

“Miss Saigon” at Prince Edward Theatre.

One thing you look for in a theatre performance?
Passion. Any performer can go through the motions and do the show. And not just do it, but do it very well, too. But the best performers are those who perform every night like it’s their last. I think some people forget that most most of the audience members will see a show for the first time — you need to treat every performance like a first viewing.

Dream person to interview?
I would love to interview Simon Lipkin. He’s been in so many of my favourite shows and I think we’d have a laugh!

Simon Lipkin preparing for “Lorax” at The Old Vic theatre.

If you could live in a theatre performance / be a character from a play who would you be?
Great question! Probably A Chorus Line because I would get to dance all the time, and if I was Judy Turner (a character I’ve played before) then I would also get the part at the end all the time too; haha!

What do you love about Stagedoor?
It’s handy and has great content. It’s pretty perfect for theatre lovers.

Where can we find you?
You can follow me on Twitter @rochellebalboa and on my blog.

Next up: Caroline Hanks-Farmer.

[Evi Triantafyllides] Tell us a bit about yourself.
I used to perform for many years, but then something happened and I couldn’t do it anymore. So I had to fill the void. I pinged off an email to Londontheatre1 and asked if they wanted any reviewers. Fortunately they did, and after submitting a review for consideration, I got my first assignment. Then, one dire winter’s day -17th January 2015, to be more specific- I randomly decided to start my own website. To this date, I’ve had over 19k views and had opportunities I could only dream of. Not only did it fill a void, but I’ve met and seen some incredible theatre — a dream come true!

How did you first get involved with theatre?
I’ve always enjoyed dancing but never showed any interest in performing when I was at school. But circumstances took over, so I became involved and never looked back. I love every aspect of it, champion the unsung heroes and have come to the conclusion that new writing is my true passion.

How do you know when something is “good material” for your blog, worth reviewing / featuring?
It sounds tacky, but I go with my gut instinct. But you can’t always know if it’s going to be successful. For instance, for Love Theatre day, I did my top 5 most read blogs, and was staggered by which came out on top.

Favourite theatre venue / hidden gem (think fringe)?
I love the Savoy Theatre. Equally, I like studios such as Trafalgar and St. James. Perfectly intimate and ideal for some shows.

Savoy Theatre, London WC2R 0ET

Upcoming actor to look out for?
I recently saw Freya Sutton in Hairspray. Amazing! I think she is definitely someone I’m going to look out for.

Freya Sutton in “Hairspray”.

Recommended show for this season?
As I said before, I’m passionate about new writing. I enjoyed Four Minutes Twelve Seconds and I’m looking forward to its replacement, The Wasp, both having transferred from Hampstead theatre.

One thing you look for in a theatre performance?
Something new and exciting — What sets this show apart from other shows?

Dream person to interview?
Nigel Harman.

Nigel Harman.

If you could live in a theatre performance / be a character from a play who would you be?
Someone strong with a story to tell; a story full of characterisation — too many to list here.

What do you love about Stagedoor?
I love the feeling of it — it feels like a community for theatre lovers.

Where can we find you?
You can follow me on Twitter @CTheatrePassion and on my website.

Happy New Year from Stagedoor!

As 2015 comes to an end, we hope you had a wonderful year. May 2016, be an even greater one, full of awesome theatre performances!

If you have questions for the bloggers or want to share your thoughts, reach out on Twitter @StagedoorLDN.

And of course, if you liked this post, click the “♥” button below (left) and share it (right) with your theatre-loving friends. Happy Holidays!