It is such a wonderful honour to announce that my next interviewee is the marvellously brilliant LAYLA HARRISON, who is currently starring as one of the sensational Ballet Girls (and also First Cover Meg) in the legendary “Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Read on to hear all about Louis Armstrong, vegetarianism and Sweeney Todd . . .
Tell us a little known fact about yourself – something we wouldn’t know by looking at you.
I am a vegetarian.
Who or what inspired you to get into the Theatre/dance industry?
Nothing specific. My parents always say I could dance before I could walk. As a baby I would pull myself to stand up and dance along to music. As a little girl, I fell in love with performing and of course, dressing up!
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? And what has been the biggest obstacle you have faced?
The biggest obstacle is easy…I was very injured through my training but pushed through and ended up having over three years off at the start of my career with surgery on both feet. I had both legs in cast and was in a wheelchair for a bit!
One highlight is very hard to choose. Dancing wise, I would have to say playing the role of the dormouse in Ashley Page’s ‘Alice’ with Scottish Ballet. I have also adored playing the role of Meg in ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ (West End).
If you had to choose any 3 songs from any genre as the soundtrack to your life so far, what would they be and why?
My goodness that is tough. Only three?!?! My parents have great taste in music so I grew up to an amazing playlist!
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen is the song to lift my spirits if I’m feeling low. “We Have all the Time in the World” by Louis Armstrong is very dear to my heart for several reasons but mainly because it was my wedding song and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 is just one of the many songs that reminds me of being a child and singing along to it loudly in the car with my Dad!
What is your must-see West End show (other than your own!) at the moment?
Sweeney Todd on Shaftesbury Avenue!
If you could play any role, be it play, musical or dance, past or present, what would be your dream role to play and why?
I love exploring dramatic and passionate characters so my dream roles have always been Juliet (Romeo & Juliet) and Eponine (Les Mis).
Who are your favourite theatre performers (to watch) on stage?
There are so many incredible artists I love to watch, I find it impossible to choose. I can tell you my favourite onstage partnership though, which was watching my dear friends Adam Blyde and Sophie Martin (who danced at Scottish Ballet with me).
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
I rarely have spare time but seeing friends, playing cards, painting watercolour or spending time with animals!
You are currently part of the cast at the legendary “Phantom of the Opera”. Do you have a favourite part of the show? (Either that you are involved in or love to watch from the wings?)
My favourite scene is the Manager’s Office (Act 1) and Masquerade has a special energy to it. I adore listening to whichever talented friend is singing ‘Wishing’ and then climbing down the portcullis as Meg (getting to close the show at the end of that stunning score) has to be the most amazing feeling. Sorry, that was four!
If you could give one piece of advice to your 11 year old self – what would you say?
To believe in myself no matter what. (Easier said than done.)
In 10 words or less, why should people come and see you, along with all the fantastic cast at Phantom?
It’s a classic! An emotional story shown through beautiful design.
I want to thank Layla so much for taking the time to answer these questions – especially knowing how busy she is! She really is the most enchanting dancer and is truly mesmerising to watch. Her portrayal of Meg is also one of the most stunning I have ever witnessed – and believe me, I have seen Phantom quite a few times, ha ha!
If you would like to see this for yourself, head over to http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/london for ticket details.
Signing off for now
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx