How did you first come to hear about Tess?
I was contacted by a friend at the start of 2016, asking whether I’d be interested in being part of a concept album for a brand new musical based on Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The composer and lyricist were looking for people to sing ensemble and also take on the various supporting roles. Although I’ve been performing and singing for many years, I’ve very little experience of a recording studio and so was keen to get involved. Not long after that first chat, I received an email from the two Michaels, inviting me to record the role of Marian, the dairymaid, with the character description “she’s in her 40s and likes her drink”. It sounded like a great role for me! So I jumped on board and didn’t look back.
It took a while for me to get used to singing into the mic and not having any other performers with me (just a click track coming through the cans). I worked closely with Michael Blore to ensure all the notes were correct and blended with the other dairymaid tracks, and we had lots of fun developing Marian’s character through her lyrics and the odd interjection of dialogue as guided by Michael Davies. Recording the puddle scene was hilarious!
Working on the album was a great experience and one I hope to get the chance to do again.
How are the workshop rehearsals coming along?
They’re great fun! A lot of hard work too, learning the full score and all the staging. As it is a small company, we are all involved in the ensemble pieces as well as our individual parts. I’m playing Tess’s mother, Joan Durbeyfield, in this production and singing alto for all the ensemble work – busy busy!! We’re all enjoying rehearsals. I’ve not worked with Night Project Theatre before and it’s lovely to have made new friends and reacquainted with some old friends too. Everyone is working well together and exchanging ideas to help create a strong production.
In the show Alec sings ‘I always get my way’. Do you?
Haha! Do you mean as Joan or me?! In the show, Joan is very much guided by the Fortune Teller’s Almanac. She urges Tess to travel to the D’Urberville’s house at Trantridge Chase where she meets Alec, so you could say she gets her way. But if you’re asking if I always get my own way, I couldn’t possibly comment – lol!
I’m currently co-directing and choreographing pantomime as well as rehearsing for Tess. I’m going to put my feet up for a while and enjoy watching my husband as Peron in Evita and my daughter in her youth theatre’s and school’s productions. I always get itchy feet though, so I’m sure it won’t be too long before I’m back treading the boards or choreographing/directing somewhere. I’d love to work with Night Project Theatre again. They’re a great bunch of people and very talented. Now here’s a thought. Maybe I could go for the Tess hat-trick?!
Sally Jolliffe was in conversation with Tess administrator Scott Collins.
Workshop production of TESS: 8 – 9 Feb, 2019 | The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon
Buy tickets: www.rsc.org.uk/tickets/tess
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FROM STUDIO TO STAGE
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
MASTER AT WORK
INTERVIEW WITH A COMPOSER
ANOTHER MICHAEL'S STORY
THE LAST 5 MONTHS
LONDON STUDIO DAYS
A DAIRYMAID'S DIARY
IN THE STUDIO WITH TAM MUTU
THE ADVENTURE ROLLS ON
IT'S PRE-PRODUCTION TIME!
WHERE ARE ALL THE D'BLOGS?
A HERSTORY (THE FINAL PHASE)
A HERSTORY (PHASE THE 4TH)
THE LYRICIST SPEAKS
RECORDING TESS - THE SINGER
A HERSTORY (PHASE THE 3RD)
A HERSTORY (PHASE THE 2ND)
A HERSTORY (PHASE THE 1ST)
REVIEWS & REVELATIONS
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ALEC
ONE HELLO IS HOW IT STARTS