A day in the life of a West End performer

Joanna Hyndman from Annahilt recently made her West End debut as one of the swings in what is probably one of Andrew Lloyd Webbers best known musicals of all time – ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, staged at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket, London.

Joanna Hyndman.
Joanna Hyndman.

The musical has been running for 29 years, with a total of eight shows per week playing to sell-out crowds of around 1200 each performance.

Joanna showed an interest in musical theatre and acting when she joined Lisburn’s Fusion Theatre at the age of 12. She went on to play various leading roles in their productions including ‘Mabel’ in The Pirates of Penzance which for which she was nominated for an AIMS (Association of Irish Musical Societies) award.

In her final year at Friends School Joanna played ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in My Fair Lady and achieved her LLCM in Musical Theatre from The London College of Music under the tuition of Ashley Fulton.

She then moved to London after being accepted to the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts - one of the top Academies of its kind in the UK.

I start my day off going to a yoga class before heading to rehearsals at 1pm. I am involved with cover rehearsals just in case any one is ever off. This is a really busy time for us all.

We will stop to go for dinner at 5pm and this is nice as it gives us time to chill out before going on stage.

When I get back to the theatre I will get my hair and makeup done and there is always banter in the dressing rooms. It is quite manic backstage.

The stage manager gives us a ‘five minutes to go’ call so we are ready for our entrance.

Then it’s time to go on stage. As a swing I am on 8 different parts of the show. They are small ensemble parts and I have different costumes. The behind-the-scenes action during the show varies depending on your role. If you’re one of the principals, most of the time spent off-stage is devoted to changing costumes and makeup.

There will be a 10 minute interval and then we are back on stage. Once the show is over everyone rushes off to catch their train home.

I just love the buzz I get from being on stage - it is a truly wonderful feeling. I absolutely love it. Phantom was the reason I got into musical theatre and it is just amazing getting this role. I have a contract for a year and it is going great.