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NEWS > Alumnae News > Alumna to Star in SIX at Hampton Court Palace

Alumna to Star in SIX at Hampton Court Palace

Musician Alice Angliss, Class of 2011, who is starring in the hit West End musical SIX, takes part in a world-first in June, as the show is performed in the iconic courtyard at Hampton Court Palace.

Alice, who is the daughter of Mrs Angliss, teacher in charge of textiles, plays Maria the drummer in the band of the West End production at the Vaudeville Theatre.  The multi-award-winning musical is based on the lives of the Queens of Henry VIII.

Musician Alice will be re-united with the original West End cast when she appears in the special one-off shows at Hampton Court, staged in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, on Sunday 19 June and Monday 20 June. Tickets can be booked on the main SIX website: www.sixthemusical.com (just be careful to select the correct venue).

After leaving LEH Alice read music at St Catherine's College, Oxford before taking up a place on the postgraduate course at the Royal College of Music studying Orchestral Percussion and Timpani, supported by an Ernest Hecht Award. She is now building a career out of theatre work, orchestral playing, and teaching.

She says: “I truly have the best job in the world and it's all of my wildest dreams come true - although I actually didn't even realise that you could do it as a job when I was at school! I used to love taking part in the LEH/Hampton musicals each year, and they were really good training in hindsight, but it wasn't until halfway through university when I joined the NYMT for one summer that I realised it was what I wanted to do.

“If anyone at LEH is interested in a career in theatre - whether as an actor, a musician or in the technical departments (sound, lighting, design, costume, stage management...) I would really recommend checking out NYMT and applying to be in one of their shows.

SIX itself is quite unusual for me as the band are onstage and are featured in the show. We even have character names! I found that quite nerve-wracking at first as I was used to being unseen, in the pit underneath the stage, in other shows I have played for, but it has brought me out of my shell a lot and now I love being more involved in the performance.

“It's also special because it has a cast and band made up only of female and non-binary people. This is important to the narrative of the show, but it is also important because even now, 500 years after the characters were alive, we are still fighting the patriarchy! Bands in the West End have always been heavily dominated by men and I'm pleased to say that now we are starting to see some change and many producers are making efforts to diversify.

“Since the show has been running, I have been the only female drummer to hold a chair in the West End, even though there have been nearly 100 different shows in that time. I was lucky enough to begin percussion lessons while I was at LEH, with the brilliant Mr Millett, so the only percussionists and drummers I knew were other LEH students, but out in the wider world it's still very much seen as a "boy's instrument". I'm hoping that won't be the case for much longer!

“The pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone working in theatre. Most people are freelance, which means we have little to fall back on when work is cancelled. There was very little help given to the arts in the UK, despite the fact that it contributes enormously to both our economy and our wellbeing as a society, and a large number of people did not even qualify for the SEISS grants. Many have left the industry because they could not afford to continue, which means we've lost a lot of talent.

SIX was one of the first shows to reopen, largely because we are a small company, so the overheads are lower and therefore it was more viable for us to attempt it. The first performance after our long closure was a very emotional evening for us and the audience members! Even so, it was a very precarious and costly experiment and there was an overwhelming sense of anxiety for a long time. Things are beginning to look relatively normal now, but it has caused a huge and long-term impact on the creative arts in general, which will continue to be evident long after we stop wearing facemasks.

“That said, the biggest joy of being a freelance musician is the variety of work I get to do. As well as SIX, I have depped (worked as a muscian's equivalent of an understudy) on other shows including Miss Saigon and Bat Out Of Hell; I have performed in concert halls all over the country with orchestras playing film scores live to screenings of the films; I have toured Denmark with a ballet company and Sicily with an opera company; I have recorded at Abbey Road Studios; I have played in TV shows & adverts; I play in a percussion trio with two other women; and I teach children, which I adore.

“I'm the only musician in my family and I had no idea any of this was possible when I was a teenager, but I had the most incredibly supportive parents and have figured it out as I went along. I encourage any LEH students who love playing their instrument to dream big and pursue it because it's the most wonderful career imaginable!”

 

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