Friday, July 10, 2015

Alison Smyth: Center Stage

We featured actor/singer Alison Smyth's "gangsta street style" last winter. In our summer shoot, she shows off her lighter side and talks about life on stage.

Smyth's professional debut began with the musical Hairspray at the Princess of Wales Theatre, where she understudied for the lead character, Tracy Turnblad. "It was beyond exciting to play her three times," Smyth says. She also played various roles in Jersey Boys. "I could have performed in that show for years on end," but Smyth's feelings are quite different when it comes to her role as Cheryl in Evil Dead: The Musical. Like the cult horror film from which it is based on, Cheryl is demonically possessed, chained in a cellar and terrorizes her friends. "I've had to lay Cheryl to rest -- at least on stage, because of how physically demanding the role was. It was too much for my petite body."

When she's not performing, Smyth indulges in another passion. "Yoga teaches me something almost everyday," she explains. "It reminds me to be here now. To acknowledge what the facts are in each moment." Smyth goes on to say that yoga's spiritual discipline also follows her on stage. "When I'm under the spotlight, yoga allows me to trust my training and preparation for each role, and reminds me to appreciate my job."

Smyth is also helping budding performers fulfill their dream with her travelling showbiz workshop, Toronto Talent Intensive. "It's a stellar faculty of Canadian musical theatre artists who bring the professional audition experience to cities and towns across Canada," she explains. "Our goal is to give striving musical theatre artists a chance to experience a professional audition so they can succeed in getting roles or acceptance into post-secondary performance programs. We want to see a continued success in Canada's arts and culture scene -- especially in musical theatre."

Smyth shares one last bit of advice with artists going on auditions: "Do your homework," she emphasizes. "Prepare and practice for that audition so that when the physiological effects of nervousness kick in, you are still ready to give a good performance. Also, practise in front of friends and family before, and remember, on the day of your audition, dress well and smile. It's performing -- not heart surgery."

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Next, Alison will be playing the lead in the thriller Wait Until Dark in Perth at the Classic Theatre Festival from August 7th to 30th. The role was made famous by screen legend Audrey Hepburn.

Check out Alison's website and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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