Actress Nisa Cole is playing the title role in the Lawrence Batley Theatre Pantomime Cinderella from 9th December to 31st December. We got chance to ask her about her career and her first time starring in panto.
You’ve starred in some incredible TV shows – what’s been your favourite to date?
I feel my experience of each of them is almost incomparable because they’ve all felt world’s apart, for different reasons! I have different favourites for different reasons. Favourite production, in terms of “fun on set and joy to be in front of the lense”, is joint-first between my first series of Waterloo Road and The Moonstone. My favourite, in terms of “the best challenge I’ve risen to”, is my role in Scott & Bailey‘s final series and a guest-lead role in Doctors, where I played a teacher.
If you had to choose between acting for TV and the stage, which would you pick and why?
The stage. It has an immediacy, an urgency, fluidity and purity that is difficult to reproduce for screen – due to the technical restrictions of the medium: the numerous takes of the same scene; events filmed out of story sequence; and lack of audience presence. For me, it is impossible to experience that same ‘flow’ as a performer when making television. Experiencing that ‘flow’ is so satisfying! It’s like dancing to your favourite song from beginning to end – you wouldn’t forward it to a specific bit, dance a bit then rewind it back and dance to another bit… Well, you might, and your carefully choreographed dance may look award-worthy but your connection to it will be different. That’s like the ‘rehearsal’ part of theatre (which is very important as it lays a strong foundation so that the pieces don’t fall apart when the director leaves!) but once we start running the whole story together, in sequence, that’s when the real joy happens for me. I love living through the whole story with a character. Theatre feels like a living, breathing organism whereas telly, in general, often seems very much a machine. (A machine which has taught me a lot and where I have met some beautiful and very talented people, but a machine non the less.)
Everyone loves Cinderella. How is this Lawrence Batley Theatre production different?
It depends on which version of Cinderella we’re comparing it to, but I think the narrative is one most people will recognise – no major new twists in plot. Other productions of Cinderella will not contain this, particularly brilliant, cast – under the guidance of comic genius Joyce Branagh. I have worked with Joyce Branagh, Richard Hand and Gareth Cassidy before (our Director, one half of the ugly step sisters and Buttons) and can safely say it will be a winning concoction; with Joyce’s knack for comic timing and sharp direction and the physical stamina of those two actors. Also, Mike Hugo (the other half of the ugly’s) is one of the most impressive physical performers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I saw his performance in Around the world in 80 days at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, last year. Phenomenal. I laughed myself to tears!
What are the main challenges for you?
Not corpsing when on stage with the hilarious Gareth Cassidy, Mike Hugo, Richard Hand, Stephanie Hackett and Natasha Magigi!
What’s coming up for you in 2017?
An MA in Collaborative Theatre Making with Frantic Assembly and Coventry University; and continuing to facilitate drama workshops around Manchester. For my wish list: an Assistant Director gig and, hopefully, the odd telly job, or short theatre gig…
Catch Nisa Cole on stage this festive season!