16th May 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Photography by Trevor Leighton for Disney.
Performing in the West End on stage in the Frozen Musical as Princess Anna we got to chat to Stephanie McKeon about the iconic role, her first performance she ever did and we asked her favourite memory of playing the Disney princess.
Starting from the beginning of your journey with theatre, is this something you have always wanted to pursue?
I grew up in a theatre family in Dublin, so it’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. A costume designer, singers, actors, dancers, a producer - all of whom inspired me from a very young age. I knew above all else that I wanted to study in Trinity college, in my hometown. It was either going to be a science subject or drama that got me there and I suppose my performer genes spoke louder in the end and trumped my keen interest in biology (which is still very much a thing!)
Can you remember the first theatre performance you ever did?
I certainly can - who could forget 7-year-old Stephanie McKeon’s big debut as Tallulah in Belgrove Girl’s School ground-breaking production of Bugsy Malone, directed by Mrs Jordan (one of my greatest cheerleaders who encouraged me to keep performing). I vividly remember a disintegrating pink feather boa, evening gloves up to my armpits and my poor father watching on in horror as I paraded around the stage as a gangster’s gun-moll!
Photography by Johan Persson.
Frozen The Musical is one of the biggest productions, did you ever feel pressure and nerves with playing Anna?
Oh absolutely. Frozen is one of the biggest brands of all time and Anna is such a beloved, iconic character. Forming a representation of Anna that stayed true and respectful to the character that spawned from the genius minds of the original Frozen creatives is one thing, but portraying a character that feels real and resonates with the army of mini super fans, aka our lovely audiences, was a far greater task. I can only hope I have done them proud!
What has been your favourite memory of playing Anna?
Sharing the stage with such an INCREDIBLE company. We have a massively talented cast who are all so supportive of one another. I’ve never worked with a company quite like it. In fact, the entire building is filled with the most brilliant people, across all departments.
Another memory I will cherish forever is seeing the little ones arriving to the theatre in full Anna/Elsa princess dresses every day. Sparkles, tiaras — they go all out! A sea of little Frozen fans, many experiencing live theatre for the very first time. That is truly special.
Photography by Trevor Leighton for Disney.
When you are feeling nervous before a performance, what do you do to overcome it?
Usually something as simple as some deep breathing exercises and trying to physically loosen up my body with some stretching/yoga. If I’m in a particularly anxious phase with a lot of big important stuff on my slate, I will try to add in some more regular meditation. I’m also a big fan of good quality supplements to support my central nervous system, general well-being, and mental health. I recommend magnesium, B vitamins, OMega 3, adaptogenic herbs like Ashwaganda, and I also find taking CBD oil regularly helps keep me calm and ‘on top of things.’ I basically spend all my wages on health stuff — biology girl still going strong!
What would be your main advice for someone who wants to go into theatre?
It sounds a little corny and cliché, but I think the most important thing to remember is that there is only one YOU! You are the only person who has lived your exact life experiences, you are the only person with your voice, thoughts, personality, sense of humour, the list goes on and on! So, I say, embrace it all and never shy away from your uniqueness, or try to be anyone else, or fit into a specific box when you walk into an audition room. If you can continue to discover yourself and keep sight of who you really are by nourishing that voice inside, people will see that and respect that. Your individuality is your most valuable tool and only you can use it to inform the work you create.
Go and see Stephanie as Anna in Frozen The Musical by getting your tickets here.