CocoRio is delighted to reveal one of our most exciting news stories for summer 2020. West End leading lady Louise Dearman has just joined our team as our very own Brand Ambassador! A truly world-class British singer and actress, Louise is known for being the first (and thus far only) performer to have been cast in both leading roles, Glinda and Elphaba, in the West End production of Wicked. Other high-profile credits include Eva Perón in Evita, Sarah Brown and Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, and Daisy Hilton in Side Show, to name but a few!
Alongside her extensive theatre portfolio, Louise Dearman has sung at the Proms, toured with the John Wilson Orchestra, and was recently part of the BBC Radio 2 concert special LIGHTS! CAMERA! MALTA!. She has also recorded four solo albums, together with an upcoming record featuring children’s lullabies: a perfect alignment with CocoRio’s creative spheres and ethos. A mother herself, Louise is excited to collaborate with an organisation focused on creative childcare, having had first-hand experience of the arts’ importance in early development. We were lucky enough to recently have a virtual sit-down with her. There Louise told us more about her background and interest in CocoRio. Find out what she had to say below and keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 next week!
CocoRio: Hi, Louise! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and for joining CocoRio as Brand Ambassador! We feel so lucky to have an industry-leading figure endorsing our service.
Louise: It’s a pleasure! Thank you for having me.
CR: To begin, maybe you could tell us a little bit about how you were first exposed to the performing arts.
L: Sure! I started going to dance classes when I was three years old, as I had seen some friends taking them and I wanted to try dance for myself. So I started ballet. That soon developed into modern, jazz and tap dance lessons. It was just a hobby at first. My parents were incredibly supportive but it was always my own choice to go. I absolutely loved it and started singing lessons at age twelve. That’s when I discovered I had a voice to work with. I auditioned to be in a school choir and that choir actually auditioned for the West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which we were chosen for! So on my thirteenth birthday I was in this incredible musical at the London Palladium with Phillip Schofield playing Joseph. That was the moment I realised it was something I wanted to do as a career. It was no longer just a hobby.
Afterwards, it was straight into more exams and that’s when we started hunting for theatre colleges. I attended some summer workshops at Laine Theatre Arts and ended up leaving school at sixteen to go and train there for three fantastic years. So performing has been a part of my entire life.
CR: What an inspiring story 🙂 Would you like to expand on your career trajectory from there?
L: Of course. I was definitely one of the lucky ones, as I know so many incredibly talented performers who didn’t just jump into their first job. I graduated at nineteen and started rehearsals for the narrator’s role on the six-month UK tour of Joseph. So I went straight into a professional show from college! Afterwards, there was a bit of downtime when auditioning and looking for another job. But then everything thankfully seemed to start falling into place.
My career has been a gradual climb since then, which I am proud of. Because it has meant I’ve worked hard for longevity and to carve an incredibly varied portfolio of work. I’ve done everything. From being in an ensemble, to being a swing (covering multiple ensemble parts), to being an understudy, to playing big roles in small productions, small roles in big productions and big roles in big productions! It’s been an incredibly exciting journey and it’s not over yet. 🙂
CR: Indeed, our partnership is just beginning and we can’t wait to work together! What was it that excited you about being an ambassador for CocoRio?
L: I’ve been asked to become an ambassador for various projects over the years and I’ve always said that I won’t until the right thing comes along. As I have to be passionate about it. When my agent sent information about CocoRio through, I just thought it was genius. As parents, we worry about who will look after our children when we’re away. Whether they will enjoy being with that person and whether they will engage in stimulating activities that make them happy.
My little girl is so creative – she loves music, singing, dancing and making things. It is amazing to have somebody who is DBS-checked, first aid-trained and able to offer all kinds of cultural enrichment to both her and my family. All of the skills CocoRio sitters have cater towards what being a child is all about: fun!
CR: Absolutely! What is it about creative education that you feel is so important from a young age?
L: I think that it builds confidence. To be able to encourage a child to express themselves through many different forms, whether it be music, art or languages, is incredibly important. Children need to feel that sense of pride and achievement which we as parents always feel for them!
CR: We couldn’t agree more! How have you found balancing motherhood with performing or your day-to-day work?
L: It’s a strange one. I remember being pregnant with my daughter, Willow, and feeling worried about how I was going to get back into the industry – whether people were still going to cast me after having a child. In this regard, my concert work really helped me because I was still performing at iconic venues like the Royal Albert Hall when I was eight months pregnant!
My first concert as a mother was when Willow was about eight weeks old. I flew to Vienna to perform, so I was straight back into it! In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have done that, but it made me realise it was all achievable. Often, the fear of doing what’s right as a parent is much worse than the reality – sometimes you just need to go for it. If you have great childcare support for the unusual hours you work, your mind is put at rest. Because very often the options just aren’t there.
CocoRio is great in this regard! I might feel a bit guilty calling up friends and family to help out. Even though they love looking after Willow, sometimes I want to make things a little more structured and not ask for too many favours! So I don’t have to worry as I know that she is busy having fun whilst I focus on the job at hand, whether that be a rehearsal or performance. Sometimes it is hard. If I’m going through a particularly busy period of work it’s difficult to juggle everything. But both roles make me so happy.
I adore being a mum – it’s the best job in the world and the best thing I’ve ever done! But I also love my work. So I want to be able to fulfil both roles to the best of my ability. Becoming a mum has actually made my decisions a lot clearer in some ways. Whereas before I may have considered a particular job, now I need to take into account things like not being able to put my child to bed six nights of the week. So it’s quite an empowering feeling being able to make more selective choices.
To be continued… Say tuned for our second interview instalment with West End star Louise Dearman next week!
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