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Laura Tyrer, West End performer
Photograph: Ed Miles

Things you only know if you’re a West End performer

Written by
Danielle Goldstein

…according to Laura Tyrer, 35.

Acting confident is an art

‘A lot of people become actors because they find confidence in being someone else. I was a very shy kid and I went to dance classes because my mum wanted me to be confident, but if you’re naturally shy, it’s never going to go away. All performers have insecurities – some are riddled with them. That’s why we have to take care of each other.’

Getting older can be an asset

‘Entering a new age bracket as an actor is really exciting. I’m just about to finish playing Velma Kelly in “Chicago”, and I couldn’t have done it five years ago! Now I’m of a maturity to play that part, because I understand that woman.’

It’s easy to get stuck as an understudy

‘When you’re in an ensemble covering a lead part, you have to concentrate on your own character while learning other people’s as well, and you can be thrown on at a moment’s notice. But if you become known as a reliable cover, it’s hard to get out of that box. I had a fear for a few years that it wouldn’t happen for me.’

A second job is essential

‘The worst thing you can do is walk into an audition room and think: I have to get this job because I have to pay the bills. Doing something else will keep you sane. I also teach dance, but others write or voice-coach.’

Noise isn’t distracting – phones are

‘The light distracts the eye, and once your eye is distracted, your thought goes with it. It baffles me that people think they can’t be seen using their phones. I was in a show earlier this year and someone was watching the football! I was thinking to myself: If you’re that desperate to watch England, why on earth would you come to the theatre?’

Watch Laura Tyrer audition for the part of Velma Kelly on ITV’s ‘The Big Audition’ on Friday October 26, 9pm.

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