So, up next in our Getting to Know You mini series we have someone very special. StageCrafts probably wouldn't be around if it weren't for this man. He is, of course, our Musical Director, Matt Szadura! This man is so patient and forgiving with us when we get harmonies wrong. He never gets angry. He is simply wonderful and we are all so grateful for everything he does. Now here he is, to tell you about himself in his own words...
How long have you been involved with theatre?
As an audience member, I have been involved in theatre since the age of 3 when I went to see my first ever musical, Cats, in London. As a performer, my first memory of performing was in a school play when I was 7 as a snowman Christmas card. I was in a sandwich board type costume, with a massive glittery snowman drawn on the front. I remember it being extremely hard to move in and managing the steps on and offstage was quite a challenge. The first time I truly felt the buzz and rush though, when the curtain goes up on opening night and you see the lights shining down on you, was in a charity pantomime for Samaritans at the Hasland Playhouse as an ensemble member in a newly written Panto Emberella. And then the first musical I performed in was with Inspirations Theatre Company in a production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast! I was a villager and enchanted fork. It was at the beautiful Pomegranate theatre in Chesterfield and I loved every moment of it! Since then, I’ve involved myself in performing in school productions, amateur productions with Inspirations, StageCrafts performances, a degree in Musical Theatre in London, and also some professional acting jobs! My involvement as a Musical Director began when StageCrafts was formed, in 2013. Since then, I have also taken up the role of Musical Director in the junior section of Inspirations.
What is your favourite show?
What a difficult question to answer! It's tough to pinpoint a particular show, as I love many for very different reasons. However, there are a few shows that I particularly enjoy watching, listening to and performing, or have had an impact on my life in some way: RENT, Into The Woods and Assassins. RENT was my first lead part in a musical where I played Collins. I enjoyed every minute of performing in this show so is one that I hold very close to my heart. I feel that the characters are just so real, and it's refreshing to almost be able to watch reality in musical form. The score and lyrics are so beautifully constructed and I just love it! Into the Woods was my first ever introduction to my favourite composer Sondheim. I am a big lover of an intricate score with many dimensions. Not only is the story very impressively constructed, but the score and lyrics are so well put together that the music acts as a second voice to the journey of the show. Also, it is one where you discover something new every time you watch or listen to it. Assassins was a landmark show for me personally. It my final production during my Musical Theatre training in London and it was the first Sondheim show that I had performed in, so was a very special moment for me. Again, the show is a very interesting concept and the music is so cleverly put together using influences of American culture to challenge the idea of the American Dream.
Is there a character you would love to play given the opportunity?
I believe that a role is what you make of it and, as an actor, I find it exciting to make discoveries about a character through working on a production, song, or piece of text. So I see any role, big or small, as a gift and something that I can challenge myself with. However, a couple of characters that I feel are well suited to my casting type that I would love to have a go at are Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, and Princeton from Avenue Q I feel as if I am well suited to the quirky, boy next door type of characters and I feel as if these two characters suit my vocal quality well. If I got the opportunity though, I'd also really like the challenge of playing Peter in Bare, and Moritz in Spring Awakening.
Do you think being involved in theatre has helped you in life?
Absolutely! Without theatre I would certainly not be the person that I am today! I only joined Inspirations theatre company as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award, and from there developed a true passion for performance. You wouldn't think it, but before then I was an extremely shy and nervous person, who wouldn't even put his hand up in class to answer questions. There are no doubts in my mind that involvement in drama and theatre has completely transformed me as a person and actually helped me to build skills in day to day life and formed the person that I am today.
What has been your best experience in theatre so far?
It's so difficult to pinpoint one experience as there have been many moments that have been landmarks through my time being involved with theatre. We would be here all day if I were to talk through them all! But, to name a couple of moments: being involved with StageCrafts has been so enjoyable and rewarding for me as a performer, just by being involved in both the creative process and performing. I would also say that being involved in the workings of a brand new musical (Dracula) at university was a big stand out moment for me. It was exciting to sing a score that nobody else had sung before and put your own stamp on a character.
Are you going to see a show anytime soon?
Since moving back from London, sadly I don't get to see as much theatre anymore, but there are a few that I have booked over the next year that I am very excited about: Kinky Boots, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, RENT, Dreamgirls, Hamilton. I would also really like to see 42nd Street.
P.S. Did you know that tickets have officially gone on sale for our summer songs from the shows concert? I know Matt would really love it if you came along, as would we all! We've got some absolutely fantastic songs lined up for you, we're challenging ourselves more than ever to put on a really spectacular show. Find out all about it on our Facebook event page! And while you're there, give us a like, won't you?