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13 November 2014

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You are in: Jersey > People > Your stories > Act, sing and dance

Act, sing and dance

We catch up with Dominic Shaw at the Shaftsbury Theatre, home to hit musical Hairspray.

Dominic Shaw by the poster for Hairspray

Dominic Shaw by the poster for Hairspray

Dominic is one of those lucky people to be truly multitalented. In his current show, the hit musical Hairspray, he has to act, sing, and dance; and sometimes he may even have to take on someone else’s character in the middle of the show.

That’s because his role is officially described as ‘swing’. That means he has one or two fixed roles, but has learned lots of others too. That includes their songs and dances.

So if someone falls over, or loses their voice, or is ill, then Dominic can be called onto the stage to play their part with just a moments notice.

But that’s a pressure he’s been trained to deal with. After leaving school in Jersey at sixteen, he went to the UK to study at stage school.

There he polished his considerable skills, and was lucky to go straight into his first job, performing with a company in Germany!

Dominic Shaw by the poster for Hairspray

Dominic Shaw by the poster for Hairspray

Hairspray is an ideal show for Dominic. He says it’s a real test of his singing and acting; and as Dance Captain for the show he also has responsibility to make sure all the movement on stage is tight and disciplined.

His dressing area is right under the stage, and I chatted to him surrounded by literally hundreds of costumes, hanging on rails or folded on chairs. The ceiling was just two or three inches above our heads.

Dominic told me that while he’s doing some of his quick changes during the show he can hear the noise of peoples feet on the stage right above him.

Of course any actor is always looking for their next job. Dominic’s contract runs out in October, and he’s already looking for the next one.

But he’s not limiting himself to traditional theatre work. He’s already published an album of his own songs and regularly plays gigs around London when he has a night off.

Dominic Shaw outside the Shaftsbury theatre

Dominic Shaw outside the Shaftsbury theatre

Dominic is refreshingly realistic about his ability, and the acting profession. He has none of the false modesty you can sometimes see, but no ego either.

He told me that you have to have talent to succeed, that you can’t fake a good singing voice or dancing skill, because you won’t fool a professional director.

I saw him in the show, and he certainly has all the skills he could wish for. Of course that’s not all you need in this competitive job; luck is also a major part of it. But Dominic is engagingly optimistic about his chosen life.

He told me he always has a ‘glass half full’ attitude to life, and that if you’re not excited by a life in the theatre then you’re in the wrong job.

Watching him on stage, and the audience cheering fit to burst as the curtain came down, I’d be inclined to agree.

last updated: 10/04/2009 at 11:51
created: 10/04/2009

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