Digital theatre here to stay, says Emma
Jewish Telegraph, March 2021
ACTRESS Emma Kingston believes that even after coronavirus restrictions are lifted, theatre performances will still be streamed online.
London-raised Emma has filmed the musical BKLYN, which will be streamed from March 22 to April 4.
She will play the title role, Brooklyn, in the musical which tells the stories of multiple street performers, whose lives intersect on the streets of New York City.
They discover an inner story of a young girl in America finding the father she never knew.
The play was first performed on Broadway in 2004, and last seen in London at the Greenwich Theatre in 2019.
“Brooklyn is a girl in search of finding out who she is,” said Emma, whose mother Lisette is from Buenos Aires and father Mark is from Liverpool.
“Brooklyn’s mother passed away and now she is searching for her father. The only thing she knows about him is his unfinished lullaby and she tries to reach him through her music.
“She is determined, tenacious and a dreamer.”
Emma was attracted to BKLYN because of the “concept of a show within a show”.
She said: “This new digital cinematic format is also something so innovative and new, not to mention the score is absolutely brilliant.”
When the first lockdown hit, the 29-year-old had just started performing in Zorro the Musical at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, but the show was forced to close by coronavirus before its press night.
Emma kept herself busy during lockdown performing in online concerts and she was part of Barn Theatre’s The Secret Society of Leading Ladies, where viewers could choose which performers they wanted to watch.
And on Sunday (7pm), she will perform I Can Do Better Than That from The Last Five Years at the 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards at London’s Turbine Theatre.
But it’s BKLYN — which also stars Marisha Wallace, Sejal Keshwala, Jamie Muscato and Newtion Matthews — which is uppermost in her thoughts at the moment.
She says getting back into the groove of rehearsing and learning lines “definitely takes a little bit more time, but learning lines is just exercising a muscle so it all became easier as our rehearsal process went on”.
She added: “We did 10 days of rehearsals on Zoom, so we didn’t get a huge chance to rehearse all together which is hard when learning harmonies and rehearsing fast-paced scenes.
“When we went into the room to rehearse and then film, we were all Covid tested before being allowed to start to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”
There are currently no plans for BKLYN to be performed in theatres.
“But that could change,” Emma said. “For now, I hope everyone buys tickets to watch what we have created online.”
Emma, whose stage credits include Grease, Priscilla — Queen of the Desert, In The Heights, Les Miserables, Evita and Fiddler on the Roof, believes digital performances are here to stay.
“If anything, I hope it bridges the gap between stage and screen,” she told me. “I think it will help artists to cross over into different genres.
“I hope the industry strives to be more inclusive and diverse.
“After this crazy year, our industry will provide joy and escapism and I want it to be accessible to everyone.”
She describes BKLYN as “incredibly cinematic”.
She added: “It didn’t feel weird not having an audience for this because we have made a film rather than an on stage theatre performance.
“I would encourage everyone to support this incredible production. It’s going to be something you have never seen before and stepping into a fairytale world for an hour and a half.”
Stream.theatre/season/51 and emmakingston.com