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Tags:   Music,   Creative women,   Theatre

By The Swag Team   -  February 17, 2015

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Photo credit:  Face London

HOLLIE CASSAR left Malta to study musical theatre in the UK after winning a television talent show way back in the mid-noughties. She’s now 26 and doing regular stage work across that country, as SWAG found out.



Hi Hollie. How’s your career been going in the UK?


Well, I moved here in 2007 after winning the TV musical theatre competition, L-Isfida. The prize was a three-year scholarship at BodyWork Company Dance Studios in Cambridge. I then furthered my training at the Royal Academy of Music in London, funded by the Malta Arts Scholarship and the Janatha Stubbs Foundation.


A few of my professional credits so far include Anita in West Side Story at the Cork Opera House, Carmen Diaz in Fame – The Musical at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage and Principal Vocalist on board the Cunard ocean liner Queen Victoria. I have also worked as an actor-musician. In between performing, I teach singing at various institutions including The Urdang Academy in London.


I must mention, though, that If it hadn’t been for the inspiring teachers and directors I worked with in Malta when I was younger, including Anthony Bezzina at Masquerade Theatre Company and my school drama teacher Miss Rita, I would not be where I am today.


Are there any musical theatre stars that have served as an inspiration to you?


Yes, Lea Salonga and Sutton Foster in musical theatre, Jack Nicholson in the acting world, and Regina Spektor in the music industry.


What do you feel have been your best so far?


The career I’ve chosen is extremely competitive. You can play a leading role in a West End show for a year, and then be unemployed for two. For that reason, I’m inclined to say that my biggest achievement so far is actually still being in the industry. In Malta, I’m probably best known for winning L-Isfida.


What is your current project?


I have most recently finished performing in Dick Whittington: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto at City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds. I played the role of Fairy Bowbells as well as forming part of the live onstage band, playing piano, guitar and saxophone. I am currently auditioning for a couple of West End shows and teaching singing in between.


Please share an embarrassing anecdote from your career so far.


Well, there was the dress rehearsal of West Side Story and the photographer was in. It was the first time I was dancing in full costume. In my main number, the strap of my dress broke and by the end of the song, the top of the dress had completely crumpled down around my waist so by the end, I was standing in the middle of the stage in a strapless black bra and what now looked like a red skirt instead of a red dress. The funny thing was that all the publicity photos were used nonetheless, even though my costume didn’t look how it was supposed to…


What about the future?


Apart from working in theatre, I am also an aspiring singer-songwriter. I was due to record my first album last year but I spent most of the year performing outside of London so I never actually had the time to go into the studio. I’m hoping to get that done this year.


Now let’s get personal. Who is your ideal man, and what must he do to woo you?


My ideal man is someone passionate, intelligent, funny, honest and kind. As for the wooing… I find talent extremely attractive. In fact, that’s what made me fall in love with my fiancé. The moment he opened his mouth and sang, I knew he was special. The fact that he possesses all of the above qualities had nothing to do with it!


And finally, what would be your ideal date?


As much as I love going to the theatre and eating out, my ideal date would be something out of the ordinary. I love the idea of visiting somewhere I’ve never been before and doing something fun like bungee jumping, going ice-skating or spending the day riding loads of different rollercoasters. I’m a big kid at heart.


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