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Behind the advent calendar doors: Verity Quade

Verity Quade studied as a singer at Trinity College of Music swapping between jazz and classical voice, "ending with a final recital that was 90% musical theatre and to this day, I have no idea how I got away with it!"

Verity then did a postgrad in musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Music and has been working as a musical theatre performer for the last 18 years.

"I’ve been very fortunate to do the majority of my work in the West End and shows I’ve been in include ‘Jerry Springer, the Opera’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Honk!’, ‘Sister Act’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘Sweeney Todd’, ‘Kinky Boots’ and ‘Carousel’. "

MDing the 2nd year full-scale musical at Trinity Laban

Verity has always taught alongside performing and has been teaching at Trinity Laban for the last 15 years, "as well as most of the other London vocational colleges that offer musical theatre training at some point or other!"

Verity has a 2 year old daughter "who has fully discovered her own, iron will lately. I’m half proud and half devastated about that. I’m really excited to share Christmas with her this year as it’s the first time she sort of understands a special day is happening. She doesn’t understand enough to get up in the middle of the night with pure excitement yet, thank goodness - particularly as she’s only recently started sleeping through the night consistently!"

As well as the intensity of dealing with an energetic toddler during lockdown, Verity had to deal with all work stopping overnight. "Fortunately, my partner has a full-time job and so we were just about able to keep our heads above water with some adjustments."

As Verity also works as a musical director, composer and arranger, she was fortunate to get offered some arranging and supervising work on a musical called The Good Enough Mums Club that could be done remotely for the most part. "Of course, as full-time childcare for my daughter, the only time I had to do any of it was in the evenings. I think I’ve gained a lot of grey hair and some pretty substantial bags under my eyes this year! There is a wonderful podcast linked to the musical and I was also asked to be a guest on that, which was great fun.

Without that creative focus, I don’t know what I would have done. I have also been so grateful that my daughter has zero idea what Covid is - children have such unadulterated joy within them; if ever I get bogged down, I do something to make her laugh just so that I can hear her cheeky giggle, or I play the “I love you more than....” game with her and I feel instantaneously better about life!"

Musician Mums Christmas Quiz!

Performing at West End Live with Kinky Boots

Can you tell us what you'll miss most about performing this Christmas?

When I’m in a show, I usually only get Christmas Day itself off. It’s a pretty magical time to be working though. There’s always a work secret santa to be done (Brian May and Anita Dobson came in to be our Santa and Mrs Claus one year!) and plenty of festive show warm-ups and dressing room decorating competitions etc.

I miss the camaraderie and I miss the audiences - who always seem a bit more vocal and “up for it” around Christmas time!!

What's your favourite carol/Christmas song?

My favourite carol has to be either John Rutter’s version of the Coventry Carol, or In the Bleak Midwinter, and my favourite Christmas song is hands down, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” - thank you Judy Garland.

And what are you hoping for this year for Christmas?

I’d quite like a holiday!!! Failing that, some jazz vinyl or a haircut (lockdown has ruined me) would go down a treat!!

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

My favourite Christmas memory has to be waking up at around 3/4am and either my brother would knock on my bedroom door, or vice versa, and we would go through our stockings together clandestinely. It used to feel so exciting. Then we would dutifully go back to sleep until a “respectable” hour when we could go into our parents room and dump the entire contents of our stockings on top of them to show them what Santa had brought us.

Can you tell us your favourite thing about Christmas ?

My favourite thing about Christmas is that it is deemed acceptable to eat chocolate at any time of the day! Only joking... maybe. Really it’s the family gathering aspect that I love. My parents always start with bubbles at 11am and then there is a constant stream of nibbles to see you through to the inevitably late lunch.

Finally, give us a hint towards what you're performing on the advent calendar?

I wanted to do a reharmonisation of a famous, traditional carol and chose something that I don’t remember ever hearing another version of besides the one we all know. It lends itself beautifully to a more jazzy style.

Verity features on 2nd December, and you can find out more about her work on her website.

Mother Superior in Sister Act


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