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Behind the Curtain: An Interview with Cinderella star Soleil Quarless

Photo credit: Greta Zabulyte


It’s New Year’s Eve in Watford and the countdown has begun for the year 2000! Cinderella loves a good boogey and, as an avid music listener, is never one to miss a beat when she grooves alone in her cellar. Meanwhile, over at the Palace, the King is set to throw the party of the century in his search to find the Prince a wife to wed. Join Cinderella on her adventure to outwit her stepsisters, Britney and Christina, and sneak out to attend the ultimate New Year’s Eve bash.

Presenting a noughties twist on a Christmas classic, this winter Watford Palace Theatre is thrilled to announce their showstopping cast for Cinderella.

I got the chance to speak to cast member Soleil Quarless who plays Cinderella, about the show at The Watford Palace Theatre.

Photo credit: Greta Zabulyte


With Cinderella being a classic story, what has been done to bring something new to the show?

With this version of Cinderella it’s set in 1999 which I was very excited about when I first found out, being a huge Spice Girls fan! Throughout, lots of key parts of the classic story have been adapted to fit the decade. For instance, her best friend is not Buttons but instead a giant Furby & she flies to the ball (but I don’t want to spoil it too much!). 

What can the audiences expect from this twist on Cinderella? And what do you want them to take away?

Audiences can expect to reminisce on their childhood toys/ devices or as 90s fashion is very much back, see themselves on stage in a way. I want everyone who watches the show to take the message ‘if we all stick together, everything will be ok’ away with them which is something both Cinderella & Furby say a lot - it’s a beautiful message that if we all work through hard times like Cinderella does, it will all work out in the end!

Watford Palace Theatre brings a Christmas production each year, how will this venue / staging add to the show?

I personally think the Watford Palace Theatre is a stunning venue, the classic designs but also the space as a whole is very enchanting. This is something I think lends itself to the Cinderella story as it’s a classic, very well known tale so by being performed in a venue like this it only adds to the magic. Also the set design by Cleo Pettitt is unbelievable, the small details of the 90s constantly seen throughout is so clever! 

How would you describe the music of the show? 

A party! It’s such a good mix of classic 90/ 00 hits with a few modern songs for younger audience members. My favourite has to be the Y2K medley at the beginning of Act 2 which is the definition of a big party mashup! 

Who is your character and what is your favourite part of playing them?

I play Cinderella who for me is a very strong yet lacking confidence character. My favourite part of playing her would have to be seeing how other characters automatically love her (apart from her stepfamily!) but ultimately the kids in the audience wanting to help Cinderella in any way possible, it’s really heartwarming. 

Photo credit: Greta Zabulyte

Have you done a Panto before, if yes what do you love about it? If not, what are you most excited about being involved in a Panto?

This will be my second professional panto, where I also played Cinderella believe it or not! For me panto is all about spreading joy & love during a time that can be difficult for some, so just the thought of being a small part of people’s Christmas joy means a lot! 

How important do you think it is to continue the tradition of Panto’s at Christmas? And what do Panto’s mean to you?

I’ve performed in pantos since I was a little girl & my mum now designs costumes for the panto I used to do in Nottingham, so it’s always been a part of my Christmas tradition! 

How have the rehearsals been? Have you and the cast created any pre-show rituals yet?

The rehearsal process was very different to previous experiences in the sense that James Williams, our director, was very trusting in us all & allowed us to present ideas in a very safe space which was lovely. In my dressing room, we tend to choose a different artist of choice each day & just dance to let loose & get into the show spirit! 

What is your favourite part of the show? 

My favourite part is definitely the transformation scene as it’s just magic & heating the response every show makes me feel I’ve done a good job as magically changing! 

In one sentence describe Cinderella?

Cinderella is a loving, forgiving teenager who despite all the knock backs she’s had in life continues to carry on smiling & finding joy in everything  

Photo credit: Greta Zabulyte


Chief Executive and Director of Programming for Watford Palace Theatre, Steve Marmion comments, "As the new boy at the Palace, and a lover of panto, I am really excited to be sampling my first Watford Christmas feast alongside you all! From the award-winning designer to the crowd favourite dame, the brilliant new writer or the local hero lead actor it will have something for everyone and is sure to get you in the mood the festivities!"

Cinderella plays at Watford Palace Theatre until 31st of December 

Photo credit: Greta Zabulyte


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