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Behind the Curtain: An Interview with 'Sister Act' star Lizzie Bea

Based on the iconic movie, Sister Act the Musical is a sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music tells the hilarious story of the disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.

In this Behind the Curtain interview I to speak to Sister Act the Musical star, Lizzie Bea, who plays as 'Sister Mary Robert' to find out more about the show and what it's like to bring Sister act back to London!


For people who may not know what ‘Sister Act’ is about, could you tell them what it is about? And what made you say YES to this show?

Sister Act follows the story of Deloris, a club singer, who witnesses a murder and has to go into hiding in a convent. She eventually gets put in charge of the choir and totally transforms their voices and their lives with her energy and outlook on life. 

I said yes to this project because Sister Mary Robert (the role I play) is one that I never thought I would play. I love everything about her, and I love telling her story every night. 


How does it feel to bring ‘Sister Act’ back to the West End? And what would you say is the thing that makes the show so popular? 

It’s amazing to be back in London with the show. We are all so chuffed that the show has had continued success, and that people are still loving watching it! I think the show is popular because it is so joyous. The songs are amazing, the story is hilarious and heartwarming, and it truly just lifts you up. That’s what people need and want at the moment. 


You play ‘Sister Mary Robert’ how would you describe your character? And how do you approach the character to make them your own? 

Sister Mary Robert is the youngest nun in the convent. She’s been there since she was a baby and has no concept of any other life. She is shy, reserved, and unsure of whether she is happy with her life. Deloris changes all of this for her by showing her that life can be exciting and free. I love showing this transformational journey every night and approach it with truth, gusto and heart. I hope that I’ve made the part my own by showing that Sister Mary Robert’s journey is a universal one that anyone can relate to. 


Was there a show that started your love of musicals? And what was it about that show that started your love of theatre? 

Yes! I performed in an amateur production of “Annie” when I was 6 and the rest is history! I did “Annie” 3 times as a child and it will always be a really special show to me because it’s where it all started. Doing that show as a kid was brilliant because you got to be cheeky and loud and free on stage and I think performing that show released something in me through a passion that I was then desperate to develop further. 


How did you get into the Musical Theatre industry? And why did you want to become a performer? 

I had quite a unique journey into the industry. I always did amateur theatre as a child, and also trained with NYT and NYMT. NYMT was really the launchpad for my career - I performed the lead role in a show called “The Other School” for them at The Other Palace whilst I was at university studying my BA Ancient History and Egyptology. My now agent came to watch the show and asked if I’d be interested in acting professionally. Once I finished my degree 2 years later the wheels were in motion, and I’ve never looked back. Performing has always been my biggest passion and I am so glad that I have been able to make it my career. It’s what makes me happiest. 

Photo Credit: Johan Persson


What advice, or top tip, would you give other budding young performers to get into the industry?

Know what makes you unique and let that shine. The industry is in a really exciting place at the moment where people’s differences are being celebrated and audiences get to see themselves truly represented on stage. Be YOU and hone your craft to the highest degree. It’s a really, really hard profession but if you love it enough and are willing to put the work in then it’s all worth it. 


How does it feel to be part of a musical adapted from a very well known film? And what should the audiences expect? 

It’s great because you can tell that audiences are waiting for specific moments from the film - mainly the end of Act 1 when the nuns’ voices and performances transform! The musical is a great adaptation because it keeps the heart of the film but has totally new music and some further character development for some of the supporting leads. Audiences can expect the story they know and love with even more heart and some great show tunes. 


Do you have any pre-show rituals to get into your role? 

Yes! I do a breathing exercise and an affirmation before every show to calm my nerves. The costume and wig really help me to get into character as they’re so iconic. 


What’s your favourite moment in the show?  

Without a doubt it’s getting to sing my solo - “The Life I Never Led”. In my opinion it’s one of the best songs in musical theatre, mainly because it is so story and acting led. The song makes me feel so powerful and lucky. 


Describe the show in one sentence or three words.

Absolute sheer joy. 


Sister Act the Musical is currently playing at the Dominion Theatre till 31st of August.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson


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