Sophie-Louise Dann offers festive cabaret in Hastings

Multi Olivier award nominated actress Sophie-Louise Dann is relishing her first time on stage in the Bexhill/Hastings area since she was seven or eight years old.

By Phil Hewitt
Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 6:30 am
SOPHIE-LOUISE DANN pic by Darren Bell
SOPHIE-LOUISE DANN pic by Darren Bell

Born and bred in Bexhill, Sophie-Louise cut her teeth in the area, all her formative training, she says, before “getting finished off at Arts Ed.”

She relocated back to Bexhill from Guildford 12 years ago – and is now looking forward to three nights of cabaret at The Stables Theatre and Arts Centre, The Bourne, Hastings just before Christmas.

May I Have A Festive Moment is Sophie-Louise’s Christmas twist on her May I Have A Moment show, with performances on December 15, 17 and 19.

Sophie-Louise has enjoyed a career spanning 30 years in the entertainment industry, most recently as Mme Thenadier in Les Miserables. She was preparing for a Toronto season of Boyfriend when the first lockdown struck.

“The year before I had premiered my latest cabaret show May I Have A Moment which really is an anecdotal story of the last ten years, all the new work that I have done in the West End. I thought it would be fun to put it together, but then I put it on the backburner because I was schlepping around the country in Les Mis and thought I might not have the time to do it.”

Then everything changed. And then changed again. She offered it as a live performance/live stream at Crazy Coqs: “It is a beautiful room and it felt very intimate and the atmosphere was electric. The live stream was available for 48 hours and then they reinstated it in November: “But it is not the same. I am a theatre animal. I love to have a live audience. I love the energy that you get back from the room.”

And so plans took shape for her December run, close to home: “We live in Bexhill and I actually think that the future of theatre is going to be saved by the provinces, by the regions because for the moment people are not going to be wanting the risk going to London. They are going to be wanting to see things on their own doorstep. It is just a whole different mindset now, I think.

“The show is basically cabaret and chat, an anecdotal story of me, Sophie-Louise Dann, and the lovely thing is that being in Hastings I am going to be able to reminisce about all the things that happened when I was a child, the Hastings Festival and so on, all my formative experiences.”

During lockdown Sophie-Louise was delighted to get involved in the 1066 Dance Championships: “I was invited to be their patron and we did two online dance competitions. It was just wonderful to see the local talent coming up and also nationwide. I am very proud to put my name to that particular organisation. The work they do is great. It is not about showing off. It is about developing the stamina and the focus that you need.

“The year has been hard. Unless you are really motivated, unless you have a body of work that you can tap into, the industry has just been decimated. There has been some brilliant news on the funding and people are trying to put together Christmas shows, but it has just been a rollercoaster and I am just keeping everything crossed for December 15.”

Theatre credits include: Celia in The Girls (Olivier nomination – Best Actress in a Musical; Phoenix) Paula Paxton in Bend it Like Beckham (Phoenix); Barbara Castle in Made in Dagenham (Adelphi); and Diana Divane in Lend Me a Tenor!