21st June 2022
Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Stylist & Art Director: Rory Mcnerney
Stylist Assistant: Oliver Slade
Clothes Designer: Corey Dixon / Somebody Else's Guy
Make Up Artist & Nails: Rita Nieddu
Make Up Artist Assistant: Juste Vaskeviciute
Hair: Lucy Muyanga
Interview: Tadek Chmiel
Logo Design: Emily Curtis
Assistant & Videographer: Joe Reed
Jewellery: Lucy Quartermaine & We Are PR
Shoes: ATIKA London
Since graduating from drama school in 2016, Rhianne has completed numerous contracts in West End shows, such as “The Book of Mormon” and “Bat Out of Hell”, as well as touring productions such as her turn as Rizzo in “Grease the Musical”. We got together to talk about her latest show, “Tina Turner the Musical” playing at The Aldwych Theatre, and how she has dealt with the turbulent lifestyle that comes with working in the musical theatre industry.
You are currently coming to an end of your contract for “Tina Turner the Musical” in which you have understudied the lead role whilst also playing the roles of Alline Bullock and Ikette. Having seen you do both tracks, I can’t imagine the work load involved in mastering them. How have you kept on top of balancing them throughout the contract?
Well, I’ve never really thought of them in that way just because one track really helps the other, Alline really helps Tina and Tina really helps Alline. I think the best thing for me is making sure that I’m on top of my health game, getting sleep, making sure that I’m drinking loads of water, bits and pieces like that because it’s a really physical, active show. Just making sure I’m on top of everything physically. For stamina, I think of it as one track because Alline does a lot of the dance in the show and then Tina is the show, it’s “Tina”, so I think in that respect Alline helps with the stamina and Tina is like the add on.
You also played the iconic role of Rizzo in the “Grease the Musical” UK tour before the pandemic. What are your priorities as an actor when taking on such a well-known role from a universally loved show?
I mean going into it, the cast all sat down and had a big chat with the director, Nikolai Foster, and he told us straight off the bat that he wanted us to forget the film, we’re going back to the script, we’re going back to the basis of the text and he wanted us to create what we could from it. Obviously, Rizzo is such an iconic role, so everyone has this perception of her being this cool girl who’s kind of a bitch, but Nikolai said he really wanted me to strip it back and put my own spin on it, almost like I was approaching it as a brand new text.
I think an image of musical theatre performers that people not involved in the industry might have is one of uber confidence, which we know is definitely not always the case. In an industry where the pressure on performers can be so high, how do you take care of your own well-being as “Rhianne the human being” separately to “Rhianne the actor”?
I think you just have to prepare yourself mentally. I try and do a lot of meditation and breathing exercises and then also do things that I enjoy outside of musical theatre, whether that be hanging out with my friends or reading, whatever it is to separate the two worlds because I think merging them can be stressful.
In 10 years’ time, what changes would you like to have seen within the musical theatre industry?
I feel like we’re getting there very, very slowly but I think there needs to be more acceptance of all diverse corners of the industry. Whether that be acceptance of different races, gender, people with disabilities, like I said, I feel like it is slowly getting there but if we keep on that up-hill climb I think in 10 years’ time we will hopefully see more representation of minority communities across the board.