A sit down with… Beth Yearsley
Beth is the mastermind behind our Millie creation
We caught up with Beth during rehearsals to find out about her how she dreamt up the ideas for the show, why she loves directing and what makes her thoroughly modern…
Who is Beth?
I’m a dog loving, crime drama reading, board game playing, red wine drinking, epic fantasy geek who enjoys long walks in the countryside. I love my commute to work because I come alive when I’m driving past open fields and I’ve got my music blaring and am giving the worlds best concert to myself (this sounds like a really bad dating profile doesn’t it?! Thank goodness for Tim).
What’s your role in the show?
I’m the Director which basically means my role is to bring the best out of everyone involved in the production and make sure that the cast, production team and people back stage have the time of their lives both during the rehearsals and in show week itself. I get to use my imagination to dream up the show in my head and then work hard to make it a reality on stage. It’s a demanding role, and before I started directing I really didn’t have an appreciation for just how much work goes into each production. But it’s a role I feel extremely privileged to do, because I get enjoy the talent of the actors, stage crew, set designers, musical director(s), choreographer(s), sounds engineers and technical team and enable them to do what they do best. Then in show week I get to sit back and watch all the hard work come to life. There’s nothing better than sitting and watching audience members be transported away from their own lives for an evening. For around two hours, we have the privilege to journey with the audience and allow them to, for a small moment in time, forget the worries, pressures, anxieties and disappointments of life and instead set their imaginations free and escape into the themes of the play, the anticipation of the action, the swell of the music…It’s just magical.
What makes you Thoroughly Modern?
I don’t know if I am Modern to be honest. I constantly feel like I’ve been born into the wrong era. A few weeks ago someone told me that I’m basically Lizzy Bennet, but from Pride and Prejudice with Zombies. I loved that, it made me laugh so much.
Tell us about your journey with BMTG so far…
I joined BMTG 8 years ago when looking for a musical theatre group. BMTG were the first to respond to me and invite me down to a rehearsal. I haven’t looked back since. It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve had the privilege to play some really awesome roles, both in the chorus and as a principal. My dog was even in one of the shows! I’ve now moved from the acting side across to the production team side and Millie is the second show I’ve directed with BMTG. I’m also part of the Committee and a trustee for the society.
What do you love about the group?
Oh where to start with this one. I know everyone goes on about the BMTG family but hand on heart I think that this musical theatre group is where I’ve made friends for life. I’ve been so blessed to be bridesmaid to a member, godparent to one of the BMTG babies, and to have had the BMTG family rally round to build my furniture when we moved house. We all do musical theatre for fun and I will say this to anyone who will listen – at BMTG we are all about excellent shows but it’s more important to me that the cast have a good time in rehearsal. I am firm believer down to my core that while excellent shows are good, it’s vital that the cast and people involved in the show have a brilliant time across the whole production period. That’s what really matters to me. We’re so lucky in BMTG to have amazing audiences who support us and come back time and again, but if the cast haven’t had an amazing time across all the months of rehearsals we’ve had even before the audiences come in then I haven’t done my job properly as Director. All of musical theatre should be fun. People should get to end of a long work day and be so excited that it’s a rehearsal evening that they get a whole new lease of energy. That’s what makes BMTG so special, because whoever you are and wherever you’re coming from, there’s a reason to be excited about stepping foot into our rehearsal room.
What’s your favourite musical?
One word – Shrek.
What’s your dream role to play?
Mabel from Pirates of Penzance. I remember going to see it with my family when I was little and my dad said to me ‘one day you’ll be old enough to play Mabel’. BMTG helped me make that dream a reality when I got to play her in our production a few years back. I’d also love to play Eliza Doolittle….
How are rehearsals going?
We’ve got just over a week to go and this is where the really hard work starts. Anyone involved in MT will tell you that there is always a dip a few weeks before you go on stage. Because this is when the props and staging and costumes all start coming together and what you’ve been working on for 5 or 6 months actually gets to crunch time. I’m so proud of our Moderns because I can see them digging
I’m so proud of our Moderns because I can see them digging deep into themselves and they’re working hard. Sometimes it’s so easy to take frustrations or worries out on each other but at BMTG we’re not afraid to name that and work together in that. In some ways, this is my favourite point in rehearsals because you see the integrity and unconditional kindness of our members really start to come out. And it’s that base that our shows are born out of. A foundation of forgiveness, trust and respect for each other. That makes for awesome theatre and a cast who give their all because they know that every single one of them is championing everyone else. Fighting for everyone else. Working hard for everyone else. We’ve got each other’s backs. We’re so close now – it’s just these final few weeks to go and then Millie will burst into stage in a fireball of roaring 20s glamour. Bring it on!
Beth’s recent theatre credits:
Director (Jekyll & Hyde)
Fastrada (Pippin – The Cast)
Various parts (Buddy Holly – The Musical)
Judy (9 to 5 – The Cast)
Lady of The Lake (Spamalot)
Co-director (The Wedding Singer)
Rapunzel (Into The Woods)
Ensemble (New York, New York)
Mabel (Pirates of Penzance)
Emsemble (Westend Magic)
Ensemble (Come Fly With Glee)