In October, I watched The Phantom of the Opera, returning for its 35th year on the West End, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, where I had the exciting privilege to interview the stunningly talented Lucy St Louis: who has made her West End debut as the current title role of Christine Daaé. I was inspired to question “How did you train to be Christine Daaé?”, after seeing her perform as one of the best Christine’s I have ever seen just moments before.

A little background to this star performer,

After graduating from Laine in 2012- a prestigious performing arts academy in London- Louis St Louis’ first role was the Ragtime Ensemble and then a swing in the cast of the ‘Book of Mormon’. Lucy is well known for her portrayal of Diana in ‘Motown the Musical’ but she has also made an appearance in the 2017 Beauty and the Beast as a debutante. Not only is Lucy St Louis the first black actress to play Christine Daaé on the West End, she has recently nominated for The Black British Theatre Award in the category of Best Female Actor In A Musical for her portrayal of Christine Daaé in The Phantom Of The Opera. She has inspired many young performers to achieve their theatre dream.

“How did you train to be Christine Daaé?”-

Firstly St Louis began with the performing arts school she trained at, she left school to start her performing at the age of 16 and trained at Laine in dancing, acting and singing. At the age of seven, she was having opera lessons with a singing teacher, who wanted her to focus on going down the more opera route but St Louis explained how she wanted to train to be talented in all disciplines- singing, dancing and acting not just opera. So she started ballet lessons and acting training. She learnt how this training route gamble was a huge success, as St Louis spoke of how she is one of the few Christine Daaés to be on pointe/ perform the ballet during the opening number Hannibal. She has pushed the boundaries, in training and in all aspects of her performing which can be clearly seen in her incredible talent on the stage. Peformers should be inspired by Lucy St Louis to find confidence to train their own abilities- to not be afraid to put hard work into their training.

Lucy then spoke about her depth into the journey of the characterisation of Christine which brought new life to the role and is what makes her performance so mesmerising along with her enchanting voice.

Lucy St Louis elaborated, “I broke down the script, living it every day”. The Phantom Of The Opera has been running for so long now (35 years) it is such a “big story” and so St Louis has an interpretation of Christine, different from every other adaptation; to bring personality and love of the new perspective to Miss Daaé. St Louis focused on bringing Christine’s character full circle from this “girl to a young woman.” To achieve this St Louis broke down the script to connect emotionally with the character of Christine to be this strong yet compassionate role. Christine is often criticised for being flat, with no development of emotion and is the Phantom’s weak kidnapped victim, who just happens to show shallow compassion at the end. Lucy St Louis wanted Christine to show “inner strength”, her “own strength”. This elevated her understanding of the character. She outlined how she played with the character a lot to effectively portray Christine as “not weak”, asking questions like why didn’t Christine get up when the Phantom pushes her back down and the emotional effect of the Phantom’s ‘manipulation’ after Christine’s father’s death.

In the Final Lair, this empowerment of Christine captured the audience and was truly incredible to see Christine rise up against the Phantom’s use of her. At the same time, being strongest by showing him love, despite of his actions, where once Christine only showed a piece of courage in the final kiss.

Many aspiring performers, have always been unsure on how to properly train the voice. Lucy St Louis gave splendid advice on how to achieve this dream. However, most significantly, Lucy St Louis’ depth into her character should inspire every performer as it has inspired me too!