What is it really like to work I’m the musical theatre industry? I interviewed west end star Jodie Steele to find out what her life is like as a performer. 


I have always been intrigued by the workings of the musical theatre industry and what really goes on behind the glamorous, polished performances that we see on our West End stages. 2018 figures posted by the Society of London Theatre reveal a combined audience of over 34m and ticket revenue of nearly £1.28bn, from a total of 62,945 performances over the course of the year in the West End and across the UK. Needless to say, the West End industry is somewhat of a backbone to the thriving economy of Central London, as well as acting as a culturally enriching landmark for tourists from across the world. 


I interviewed the immensely talented Jodie Steele, known for her starring roles as Heather Chandler in ‘Heathers’, Katherine Howard in the UK tour of ‘SIX’, Sherrie in the UK tour of ‘ Rock of Ages’ and ‘Elphaba in the UK and international tour of ‘Wicked’. I asked her about what her experience of being a West End Performer has been like so far.


Making the decision to go into musical theatre can be difficult, entering such an unforgiving industry requires much thought and deliberation. I believe that there is a common misconception that you have to decide that musical theatre is your passion at an early age, and then focus all your time and energy on it, but this is not always the case. Jodie told me that she only decided to go into musical theatre when she was 18, during Sixth form.


When asked what the most challenging aspect of her job was, Jodie told me that ‘the anxiety of what people think of you’ was her biggest challenge, showing us all that even the most talented professionals still get anxious about their performances. However she said that ‘when you impact someone’s life in a positive way’ was the best part about her job, and as there is such a huge musical theatre culture in London, the impact people like her have on aspiring performers is huge. She told me that her favourite roles she has played were Zelda Fitzgerald and Molly from Ghost.


In a society where focus mental health and wellbeing are becoming increasingly scrutinised, I was curious as to how Jodie managed her busy schedule whilst maintaining her wellbeing. She told me that her busy schedule means that she is always working and often suffers from a lack of sleep, but she also said ‘I am a very proactive and determined person’, which allows her to push trough her busiest times.


Lastly, I asked her for some advice for aspiring musical performers, and she said ‘learn like a sponge and listen to everyone. When you think you have everything you need skills wise, you don’t !’, promoting the idea of constantly learning and always being receptive to feedback. 


You can currently see Jodie performing as Katherine Howard in the UK tour of ‘SIX’, touring until the 7th November.


By Emily Phillips - Lady Eleanor Holles