Dramacube have announced a choice of 2 new kids productions in KT & TW! So if you like to act, sing and dance, take your pick from Legally Blonde the Musical Jr. or The Wizard of Oz YPE but be quick as spaces are filling up fast! This big news is following fast on the heels of our 8 Richmond Swan Award Nominations!!
This week we’re catching up with Ramona Sleight who has been nominated for Best Girl Performer, 14 & Under.
Which role have you been nominated for and in which production?
I have been nominated for Miss Hannigan from Annie.
Tell us about your audition and what you did to get the part?
It was quite an unusual process – we had all been cast before because we had rehearsed the show before COVID happened, but hadn’t got to perform it because of lockdown. I was originally cast as Lily St Regis, but I offered to step in to take over the part of Miss Hannigan because the girl originally cast was not able to do it. I know it must’ve been a risk giving me the part, as I had never had a main part before, but there was no other option so I got cast as her!
How did you prepare for the role?
I spent a lot of time doing the usual practise and line/song-learning, but I also thought a lot about Miss Hannigan – what kind of person she was, how she reacted to situations, even her backstory. I feel like it really helped me understand her better and form a believable character.
What did you love the most about your character?
I’ve absolutely loved Annie since I was about five and watched the film for the first time (I watched it hundreds of times more after). I had an attachment to all of the characters, but the one I was absolutely obsessed with was Miss Hannigan (my first ever dream role). Even though she wasn’t a conventionally ‘lovable’ character, I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that I absolutely adored (and still adore) Miss Hannigan. She has this kind of twisted, hilarious, insane personality that just makes you immediately love her. I loved that she is such a complex character with real depth to her villainy, and that she has hopes, dreams and feelings just like any protagonist, but manages to channel them all in to being as evil as possible. She is just so big and glamorous and totally fabulously evil, so you can’t help but fall in love with her. I feel incredibly lucky that I got to perform as her.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when developing the role?
Definitely singing her solo ‘Little Girls’. I found it incredibly hard to reach some of the notes at the time, because I had my heart set on belting out the last high notes. It’s difficult to do such a great song justice!
What techniques did you use to learn your lines?
When I was much younger (around 7 I think), I did Annie for the first time, and I genuinely think I learned every line in Annie by heart just from listening to everyone and reading the script. I’d read the whole script over and over again because of how fascinated I was by all of the characters, and how much I genuinely loved the show. So, five years later when I was given the part, I was surprised to find that I remembered a lot of the show (especially her lines). I still spent a long time looking over them, and just reading them over and over again until they were literally all I could think about.
How did you feel on the first night?
I honestly have no idea how to describe it other than that I still consider it the most magical but emotional experience of my life. I was so nervous, because I’d never had a very big part before and I knew that it was one of the only times I would get to perform a part that was so important to me personally. I vividly remember sitting in the fire escape before my entrance, looking down at the costume jewellery and making up a story for how Miss Hannigan got all of them, and what they meant to her. There was a huge mirror in front of me, and I looked into it for a minute, seeing myself as Miss Hannigan for the last time before I went on, and just knowing that, after all of the time I spent looking through her lines and her mannerisms and her evil but totally fascinating personality, I finally understood her and felt a piece of her in me. The whole show was like a beautiful, surreal dream and, although I can’t put into words how it all felt, it was definitely one of the most special nights of my life!
What was your favourite part about performing the show?
It’s so hard to pick a particular favourite, because everything leading up to and during the show was amazing, but I’d have to say the people. I don’t think I’ll ever feel as close to a group of people again as I did to everyone in the show with me. I made some of the best friendships I have ever had, and had the most amazing support from the creative team working on the show. As much as I loved the part, I think that what I loved more is the incredible confidence and happiness it gave me, and all the amazing supportive relationships I have because of it. Thank you, Miss Hannigan!
If your child would like to take part in kids productions in KT & TW, please click here!