Monthly Archives

June 2015

Lifestyle and Interviews

INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEIGH GRAY, WICKED’S LEADING LADY

June 29, 2015

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At The Lowry Theater on my way to watch Wicked

Ashleigh Gray, a graduate fresh out of drama school, once sat wide eyed in the audience of Wicked, then turned to her friend and said “I have to play that role.” Of course she meant Elphaba. A dream that many budding young starlets undoubtedly share. But for Ashleigh, this dream really did come true.
I saw a quote recently that said “everyone wants to be successful, until they see what it actually takes”, it was superimposed onto a photograph of a ballerina’s battered and blue toes. A sight that is usually hidden by silk ballet shoes.
Wicked’s emerald green Elphaba is one of the West End’s most renowned and coveted roles.
The leading lady Ashleigh now blasts out the famous, unwavering notes from Wicked eight times a week, making each performance seem like the first.
I wondered what a day in her ruby slippers is really like and how she overcame the challenges along the journey to becoming Elphaba.
I caught up with Ashleigh after watching her performance at The Lowry to find out more.

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Have you always wanted to become an actress?

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to perform. It started with singing really, I was always found singing around the house or the playground as a child. I guess the natural progression was to get involved with amateur dramatics and then go on to train professionally! I feel very lucky to be an actor. It’s not many people that can say they love their job!

Show business is an industry that many people dream of working in but only a small minority actually reach success. How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated to reach your goals?

I’ve been so lucky that throughout my own personal journey, I’ve had wonderful people around me, spurring me on and encouraging me, especially through the tough times. Be it Music Teachers, Directors or my own family, I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me get where I am now. I do it for them, just as much as I do it for myself! I’m so passionate about this industry and I think that’s what’s kept me going all these years! I just don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t a part of it!

What is your favourite part of the job?

Meeting audiences who’ve been touched or moved by our performances. There’s nothing better than live theatre! A live audience will have no hesitation in telling you just how much they are enjoying or not enjoying a performance! And as an actor you can absolutely learn from that. I am forever learning and evolving, not only as a performer but also as a person thanks to the nature of my job! Luckily, Wicked seems to reach out to people in such a positive manner that the reaction is always one of love.

Your performance as Elphaba at Wicked was spectacular and incredibly intense. I read that you perform eight times a week when you are on tour which is unbelievable. It must require an immense amount of self-discipline to maintain such high standards. How do you achieve this?

It does take a lot and especially on tour. Being out of your own comfort zone and away from your usual support network of friends and family can be very difficult! I count myself very lucky that I have such an amazing ‘tour family’ around me. We get each other through! But I also have to look after myself. I eat well, sleep a lot and work out everyday to try and keep up the stamina requires, both physically and emotionally, for playing this wonderful gift of a role 8 times a week!

What is your typical day like when you are on tour? Have you managed to see some of the sights of Manchester?

I’m lucky that I’ve toured here several ones before and Manchester is such a great city! With only having Sundays off, time is a bit limited and I spend most of my weekdays either swimming or doing a bit of yoga or just relaxing and recovering ahead of the show. Saying that, I took a trip into town this weekend, did a bit of shopping, had some wonderful food at Artisan and took in the Makers Market at Spinningfields, it was delightful! I look forward to getting in again and seeing more of what the place has to offer.

What is your favourite quote from Wicked?

“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”

I think it’s so true – and not only in the literal sense we use in the show. I firmly believe that everyone should have a chance to shine in life and never be brought down by anyone else! If your head and your heart are flying high, happiness won’t be far behind! And happiness is the key…..to everything!

From now until the 25th July 2015, you can catch the spellbinding performance at The Lowry for the last leg of its UK tour. Visit The Lowry website to find out more about the show or book tickets.

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Travel & Places

YOGA AND REIKI: FLOATING ON A DREAM CLOUD

June 25, 2015

 

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To celebrate International Day of Yoga my Mum and I had a day of relaxation, treatments and yoga at Victoria Warehouse’s Holistic Central.  My mind and body have recently been craving some Zen and so this retreat was welcomed with open arms.

I started to feel more peaceful and chilled as soon as I arrived. The décor is rustic with exposed brickwork, wooden furniture and huge Indian cushions. The spa room smells like lemongrass and jasmine and the yoga studio is decorated with Cambodian wooden carvings and statues. The one pictured here is Dakini, the Goddess of Wisdom, she represents freedom, transcends worldly desires and is unrestrained by human cravings.

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I had never tried Reiki before but I love experiencing new things and so I chose this for one of my treatments.It is difficult to articulate how it felt or what happened but it was very powerful and kind of overwhelming. I have actually booked in for another slot with Katey Roberts because I was so bowled over by the experience and want to do more.

Every experience on the day felt authentic to the ancient, spiritual roots of yoga and holistic therapies. There are regular yoga classes which are open to the public along with sound healing, chakra dance and shamanic journeying. I will definitely be going back to try out some more classes.  There is actually a hotel on site and I am seriously wondering whether they take permanent residents.

The day was organised by Ocean Finance to promote stress free finance. Thank you so much for inviting me. It was wonderful. I drifted home feeling like I was floating on a dream cloud.

Namaste

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Fashion & Beauty

A BIRTHDAY IN THE BUTTERCUP FIELDS OF CHESTER

June 16, 2015

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My birthday is at the end of May and the weather is usually glorious so a picnic is my favorite way to celebrate. I usually have all of my friends over and we take music, prosecco and food out into the fields then soak up the rays.

This year I have just been so busy working and planning for my move that I didn’t have time for any party prepping. Instead my boyfriend and I went to the countryside in Chester for the weekend. The meadows were full of buttercups, it looked so pretty. It was absolute bliss getting away from the city and chilling out.

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Wearing: Castell Classic Greta Sandals In Fuchsia/Vintage Sky Blue Cardigan/Accessorize Delilah Pendant

A big thank you to Castell for sending me my sandals. They are hand stitched leather with a rubber sole which makes them really comfortable. Perfect for sunny walks in the countryside and on the rocks at the beach.

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Travel & Places

BERLIN, A NEW ADVENTURE…

June 2, 2015

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I have some news to share with you that has been giving me butterflies in my tummy for some time now.

We are embarking on a new adventure and moving to Berlin.

We have always wanted to experience living in a different country, to immerse ourselves in a new culture and to learn a foreign language together. My boyfriend has been offered a fantastic opportunity there and this is the perfect chance for us to go ahead and do it.

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We are still at the beginning of our journey with lots of planning and preparations to be completed over the next couple of months. As you can imagine (or perhaps have experienced first-hand) a relocation like this requires everything from house hunting to wardrobe shipping across the ocean.

We are really enjoying researching into our new homeland and gathering together tips or recommendations from those who have experienced Berlin, so please let me know if you have any favourites to add to our list (and excitement). It would also be great to hear any tips from ex-pats that have relocated.

LedByLucy-Adventure -Berlin (2) LedByLucy-Adventure -Berlin (3)We love England and luckily the 650 mile journey from Manchester to Berlin only takes a few hours. Our diaries are already starting to fill with visits from our friends and family.

Wearing: CRU Old Nichol Backpack and CRU Willow Weekender (use CRU15LBL20 for 20% discount for LedByLucy readers) / Vintage Dress From Becnicks Wonder Emporium Chester / T-Bar Shoes From M&S

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Fashion & Beauty, Travel & Places

IBIZA BRIGHTS

June 2, 2015

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Everything is so colourful and vibrant in Ibiza. The palm trees are vivid shades of green, the markets are bursting with vibrant fabrics and the sea is a deep turquoise. I visited with my parents when I was little and they bought me a bright orange, crochet flared trouser and crop top set from the hippie market.The coulours in this top reminded me of that outfit and seeing the hippies of Las Dalias for the first time.

The main objective of this trip was to take time away from work and relax. We hired a car and traveled all around experiencing as much as possible and chilling in as many places as possible. If you are visiting then I really recommend that you get a car. It gives you the freedom to explore, you can get from one side of the island to the other in half an hour and the most magical places are off the beaten track.LedByLucy-Ibiza-Brights (8)LedByLucy-Ibiza-Brights (3)LedByLucy-Ibiza-Brights (5)

Wearing: TopShop Double Row Open Circle Necklace / Cow Vintage Beach Bag / Levi Denim Hot Pants (simmilar)/ ASOS Rainbow Crochet Top
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