6th August 2022
Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Make Up Touch Ups: Holly Coyle
Interview: Amy Bell
Costume styling: Rory Mcnerney
Writer: Elliot Clay
Producer: Kiki Stevenson & Paul Taylor-Mills
Director: Hannah Benson
Choreographer: Tinovimbanashe Sibanda
Set & Lighting Designer: Andrew Exeter
Associate Designer: Ethan Cheek
MD: Ehsaan Shivarani
Music & Sound: Nikki Davison & Joe Davison
Production Manager: Ryan Watson
CSM: Betty Smith
ASM: Emile Mules
Location: The Other Palace Studio
Millennials at The Other Palace Studio, by Elliot Clay, has officially opened it's pink sparkled doors and has transported me back to my youth. The Other Palace Studio has been transformed into a metallic pink, avocado tinged playground for audiences equipped with ball pit, bumper cars and blow up chairs for patrons to sit back and melt into the nostalgia of the show.
We got to sit down with the cast and write and discuss all things Millennials!
What is the favorite iconic 00s pop culture moment?
Elliot: I’m admittedly bad with pop culture. Probably some of my favorite albums that came out like Coldplay releasing Paradise which is one of the most amazing songs ever.
Hiba: Britney Spears ‘Baby One More Time’. When that music video came out I felt like it was such an iconic moment… the outfit, the look, in school. I feel like everyone wanted to be Britney Spears!
Luke B: and Britney with the snake!
Rob: Beyonce joining Alexandra Burke on the X Factor.
Hannah: I don’t know if it’s 2000 but definitely a millennial moment which is “David’s Dead”. [laughs]
Luke L: Big Brother was a huge one!
What inspired you to write the musical and what message/story are you telling?
Elliot: So, I initially wanted to write a song cycle which is a form of musical theatre where there may not be a conventional narrative but rather a collection of songs - a bit like a playlist or an album. I was reading a lot of media back in 2018 - when I first had the idea, and the word “Millennial” was being branded about as a derogatory term aimed at younger, socially progressive people. So I remember having the idea for a musical called “Millennials” and knew that the title alone gave me an umbrella under which to tell lots of different generational stories. I also knew I wanted to subvert what people thought the show would be about and that’s why we made a statement to have a big avocado-shaped stage where these “extraordinary ordinary” stories play out. Millennials aren’t an alien race, just normal people and I hope that the stories we tell are ones everyone can relate to, whether they’re 17 or 70.
What makes the show unique?
Elliot: The show is unique because it’s pop concert and musical theatre and gig theatre blurred into one. We’ve also got a really unique setting with this amazing scenic and lighting design by Andrew Exeter who has created this immersive nightclub, concert, theatre, adult playground type world. This show is an experience which is really hard to sum up in words… you just need to come and experience it!
Hiba: I think there’s something in it for everyone. Everyone can see themself reflected in a song and in the show. I think it’s kind of like its universal theme that everyone kind of feels that they have a connection to in the show. Also, the set and what you’re sitting in, there’s no conventional seating in the ground floor area, you are either sitting on a beanbag, ball pit, or a bathtub. I feel like it’s the set, the songs, and the vibe of the show that has never been done before and I think that’s what makes it unique.
Luke L: I also feel like it’s a show that you don’t have to suspend your disbelief, you get to just sit in it as yourself and take it in for what it is and just kind of go do you know what? These are real people going through real things, it’s not like you’re being told a story but just being told people’s life experiences and I think that’s what makes the show beautiful.
Which 00s character is your spirit animal?
Elliot: I think I’m the crazy dad from My Parents are Aliens.
Hannah: Mine is Groovy Chick!
Hiba: Yeah you are giving Groovy Chick vibes.
Rob: Tracy Beaker!
Hiba: The Lizzie McGuire movie where Hilary Duff is playing the Italian singer, Isabella and Lizzie. Hey Now! Hey Now!
Luke L: For me! It’s That’s So Raven because I zone out quite a lot and in my own world. I’m always like what’s going on in my head? Don’t know? And I try and work it out. [laughs]
Do you have a favorite song to sing?
Rob: I like Someday When I’m Older. It’s a really gorgeous song about growing up and you have these hopes and dreams when you were a kid and then suddenly life gets in the way a little bit.
Hiba: I really like the finale because it’s like a celebration of everything we’ve been through and Hannah says “so let’s make a start”. So we’ve just done this whole show but actually, we’ve still got so much to live and go through, let’s start living our lives rather than being scared of what you think because your head gets in the way, so just live it.
Luke L: In a way, it’s ‘Endings’ because it highlights the idea that reaching the end of one thing is also the start of the next thing. Micro goals are great and for me, this song reminds us of that!
Luke B: I just like listening to ‘Remember the Feeling’ because Georgina is completely ridiculous.
How do you look after yourself/your voice during a long run of a musical?
Hannah: Make sure the air con is off! [laughs]
Hiba: We love a steam!
Georgina: Hot tea, Water…
Rob: Never ever drinking! Never going out to Freedom. [laughs]
Hiba: It’s an explosive show vocally, so we have to make sure to look after our voice but thankfully the show is only an hour long so after the show we can go home and rest.
As a younger person myself, I feel like Millennials are more open about mental health issues now, and this show portrays this in a positive light, what do you want the audience to take away from this production?
Elliot: So the way the show is structured is that each millennial steps up to the microphone, whether that’s literally or figuratively, and they confess something that’s been on their mind to the audience - which ranges from being really funny to being really heartbreaking. I think the central message of the show is having the courage to speak up and raise your voice.
Hiba: Speak to people! Don’t leave anything inside, even if it’s just one person to share your burden with or share how you’re feeling with and just realise you’re not alone in this. Just talk to people and share how you’re feeling because in reality someone else is probably going through it, or they have gone through it and feel the same way as you but if you don’t talk about you will feel so alone and isolated.
Luke L: Life’s hard at the moment! Life is always hard, I get that but particularly everything is getting worse or everything is getting more expensive, wages aren't changing, life is very scary at the moment but in a sense we are all going through it together like Hiba said lean on eachother because the feelings that you’re feeling the person next to you is probably feeling them too! We’re all scared, we’re all poor and we just want to know what’s going on.
Luke B: Like presuming something about someone which I think as enveloped within that and that feeling presuming someone is really happy because they are successful like what is success?
Rob: It actually takes far less effort and energy to be a nice person to understanding of people with what they’re going through rather than to hate on people on social media or in real life. Just be a nice person!
The theatre has been transformed into an immersive space. What’s been your favorite part of performing in such an exciting setting?
Elliot: It’s amazing to watch people stand up and dance and have a real human connection with our brilliant cast, especially after the last two years.
Hannah: The trampoline.
Georgina: My favourite part is definitely being so close to the audience. When you’re doing a show in a larger venue, there is still a sense of separation between the world of the play and the audience who are in watching. In Millennials, the audience are an integral part of the story and informs the show every night. We often walk through them, talk to them and dance with them. We have to be fully immersed and ready to respond to whatever the audience offers us that night - which is so exciting. You could see the show five times and it would still be a completely new and unique experience every time.
Luke L: Our best shows are when the audience feel like they want to join in and feel like they want to be on the journey with us.