Interview with Musical Theatre Actress Olivia Williamson
Tell us a bit about your background, when did you start performing? and how have you pursued your love for music?
I attended my first dance club when I was around four. Then joined a performing arts school when I was nine as I realised I preferred singing. l joined a few bands throughout my education, exploring different genres of music including: jazz, pop and soft rock. I then decided to pursue a career in musical theatre. I attended two drama schools and graduated from The London School Of Musical Theatre in 2019. I am now signed with an agent.
On your Instagram you do a lot of brand representation and “influencer” content, how did you find yourself with that line of work? Do you identify yourself as an influencer?
In my opinion everyone is an influencer. If a family member asks for a film recommendation or a friend asks you where you got a new lipstick and you answer their question, you’re effectively ‘influencing them’ and giving a free positive review. It started off with me doing that, recommending products I like on my Instagram just for fun. Then brands started approaching me and I realised I could potentially monetise my hobby. I now refer to myself as a content creator as I try to create diverse and fun content for my followers whilst making a bit of money where I can.
Predominantly, you’re a musical theatre and contemporary singer, who are your musical inspirations? and are there any other genres you’d like to dip your toes in?
I definitely take a lot of inspiration from musicals as well as pop music. Specifically, divas such as: Whitney Houston, Adele, Little mix and Miley Cyrus. When it comes to my listening habits, I listen to R.n.B., funk, rock, grime, rap, soul, dance and pop. I have had a go at singing most of those genres. Musically, there’s nothing I wouldn’t try.
In the indie rock world, which is the genre we mostly cover as a musically centred magazine, musical theatre sometimes gets a bad reputation for being “cheesy” or “over the top”. As an actor, could you perhaps break those prejudices for those rock puritans?
I think the main thing to remember, like with most art forms, no two pieces are the same. There are musicals that are cheesy (which to me are a fun form of escapism). But there are also musicals like ‘Come From Away’ which are much more raw and have a clear message, and there are less jazz hands . If you’re a rock fan, why not ease yourself in with the duke box musical ‘We Will Rock You’ - it's based on the music by Queen. Or try ‘Hamilton’ or ‘Dream Girls’ for a riveting story.
In your Instagram bio you have written the words, “positivity, authenticity & gratitude”, which I think is a significant statement considering the industry you work in is full of rejection. Can you shed some light on how you stay positive and what those three words mean to you?
The industry is full of rejection, but so is life. Every no I’ve gotten has taught me something either about my performing or me as a person. Being grateful for those lessons has definitely helped me to be determined, to reach those dreams. I practice gratitude by listing what I’m thankful for and I’ve noticed a massive improvement in my attitude since I’ve started doing this. Positivity is important to me because I always try to look for the good in situations and spread joy as much as I can. On the other hand it’s not always possible to be positive, that’s where authenticity comes in, I try and be authentic with my followers by showing my down days or thoughts about mental health and other issues that are close to my heart. All in all ,those three words seem to be the perfect combination for how I want to present myself.
As well as working as an actress and content creator, you also have a book account! Can you talk a bit more about that? Here at The Record Press, we prize the collaboration of disciplines, how important is reading for you?
Reading is my favourite hobby and I think it combines entertainment with education so brilliantly. Not only has it been a great way to spend time during lockdown, it’s also widened my vocabulary, inspired creativity and taught me things about different people, places and concepts. The online book community is great and I’ve read so many books recommended to me by other people with book accounts. Taking creative pictures of the books along with writing my reviews has also served as a creative outlet for me whilst performing has been on hold.
You have dedicated one of your Instagram highlights to spread awareness on the Black Lives Matter movement, is there anything you’d like to share in light of your dedication to advocacy?
I think that everyone is capable of being prejudice in some form, but it’s your willingness to listen, learn and change that is most important. I’m so happy that racism is something that is being discussed; having been subject to some myself. However it’s so devastating that so many deaths and injustices have happened to spark discussion. Believing in equality is great, but if you’re not prepared to call your Gran out for micro aggressions or teach your children about racism, can you really say you support the BLM movement?
The stasis of the arts has been really difficult especially for individuals such as yourself whose livelihood depends on performing, can you shed some light on what it’s been like for you in the business?
The pandemic is something I’d have never have predicted when I graduated from drama school. Only 6 months after graduating, musicals were shut down. I’d only just started impressing the right people and getting to the final rounds and just like that, any opportunities were taken away from me. I had to get a ‘normal job’ as a teacher and nanny. At my lowest points I even considered giving up completely, retraining and pursuing a future career in something else. However things are now looking up. I acted in a short film the other week, I’m going to be appearing in some more smaller projects and auditions for the bigger jobs are coming in again. So I’m feeling positive about my future in the business.
We loved talking to Olivia and wish her acting career the very best. The link to her Instagram can be found HERE. If you are a creative who is looking for exposure, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org