When someone follows their dreams, it’s always inspiring … and when it means moving to the other side of the world and leaving everything that’s familiar behind, perhaps even more so! Former local Sally Lloyd is currently pursuing a performance career in London, and hard work and dedication are already paying off for this talented lady …
Whereabouts did you grow up and go to school?
I moved to Port Macquarie when I was five and went to school at St Peter’s Primary, followed by St Paul’s High School and MacKillop Senior College.
What came first – your interest in singing, dancing, or acting – and how did you develop each of these skills while you were growing up?
Music has always been my first love. I started piano at the age of three and always enjoyed singing from a young age and relished any opportunity to play or write music.
I started singing lessons at the age of eleven and used to compete in local eisteddfods. I remember feeling so nervous whenever I sang in front of people, but I always had this feeling that I wanted to keep doing it. Luckily, I stuck with that instinct! My first musical was The Mikado at the Civic Theatre when I was 13, and I absolutely loved the experience.
I never intuitively knew I wanted a career in performing, so I never studied drama in school. I took jazz, tap and hip-hop dance classes growing up, but purely for fun. It wasn’t until I left school and moved to Brisbane that I realised I wanted to do more performing, so I took acting classes and did a professional dance course. Learning classical ballet at 18 was a steep learning curve!
Currently you’re based in London. That was a big move to make … How long have you lived In England, and why did you decide to establish a career on the other side of the world?
I’ve lived in England now for two years, and I’ve been in London for around 18 months. Before moving to London, I lived in Brisbane and worked full-time in a variety of Project Management roles whilst balancing performing work on the side.
I reached a point where I was doing twenty plus hours a week of rehearsals and performing outside of my full-time job, and it just wasn’t sustainable. My agent would send me auditions, and I had to keep turning them down.
I decided to take a leap of faith and quit my job and move to London to pursue performing. I’ve always wanted to experience living abroad, and London seemed like the perfect place, given it has some of the world’s best theatres. I made the move and fortunately was successful in my audition for one of the world’s best drama schools. It was a bit crazy looking back, but it’s definitely paid off.
You recently obtained your Masters in Music Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Congratulations! What did you enjoy most about studying overseas?
Thank you! Central is such a well-renowned drama school, and it was inspiring to train at a school where so many successful actors have trained. I loved being surrounded by a diverse group of creative people every day, all studying some aspect of the performing arts. I also enjoyed being able to go to the theatre often; there are a great variety of shows in London, both on and off West End.
What have been some of the productions you’ve been involved with – and what have been some of the most valuable things you’ve learned from these experiences?
In 2015 I was cast as Medusa in a new musical called Pandora. This was a highlight for me, as it was my first professional fringe production in London and gave me the opportunity to perform at the well-established Union Theatre. I was fortunate to work with an incredibly supportive cast and creative team, who taught me the importance of enjoying the rehearsal process and of trusting the material.
Prior to our first show at the Union, we had only one hour to do a technical run in the new space; it was the shortest tech run I’ve ever done and a valuable lesson in adaptability! Last year I also played Myrrhine in Lysistrata and Cinderella in a devised production called Big City Dreams – both of these were part of my Masters.
I think the main lessons learnt from these productions were the need to be playful and work collaboratively as an ensemble.
Other highlights include being in the ensemble of Jesus Christ Superstar at QPAC and playing Ginny in A Very Potter Musical.
Tell us more about your own particular creative style. What types of dance and songs do you like to perform?
I’m very passionate about new writing. As a composer/lyricist and performer, I appreciate the creative process and emotional investment that goes into bringing a work to life. As a performer, working on new material often allows for
greater openness and exploration in the rehearsal process, as there are fewer pre-conceived ideas about how the character should be portrayed. It’s a really empowering feeling when you perform someone else’s work, and it sparks new ideas for the Director or Writer about the character.
My favourite composers are Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown. Their music and lyrics are very expressive and lend to character discovery, which makes them a lot of fun to perform.
Tap dance is my favourite dance style; I like that it’s percussive and a bit grittier than other styles of dance.
Who would you like to acknowledge for helping you along your life’s journey so far?
I’d like to thank my wonderful family and friends for always being incredibly loving and supportive. My parents and brother have always encouraged me and have taught me to be resilient and create my own opportunities, and for that I am grateful. My writing partner, Ben, for helping me bring my ideas to life. My previous singing teacher, Denise Begnell, for teaching me good technique and introducing me to a variety of musical theatre repertoire. My teachers at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for helping me grow as a performer last year.
What plans do you have in the pipeline for 2016?
I’m filming a short film this month in London, and I am performing in a concert performance of Pandora in March. I am currently auditioning for shows in 2016.
Where can readers follow your career or find out more about you?
My stage name is Sally White, and you can follow me on the social media links below. For professional enquiries, please email email@example.com.
Interview by Jo Atkins.