Carole Williams is a theatre actress with the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company and has spent her life studying, performing and creating music. In her latest starring role in Mamma Mia – as Donna- Carole received rave reviews and an exultant audience reception for the hit musical when it played at the Civic Theatre in September. While on a brief hiatus from performing Carole described why she just can’t keep away from the stage, and her journey towards stardom.
LifeStyleQ: What first drew you to performing?
My dad sang in clubs around the UK and I would sing his songs and learn them on the guitar. In school choir I first experienced the power, joy and beauty of multiple voices and harmonies. In university I explored original music through my progressive rock band White Trash. Being able to write my own tunes was an opening to a whole new world. What has kept me performing is the connection I get with the music, the characters and the audiences. It’s not a gift if you don’t give it and performing is what I have to give.
LQ: As a triple treat, which is your favourite talent?
I love the choreography that goes with a big production and I work really hard on it because it isn’t my forte. That’s part of the journey for me though – I love to learn something new in each production or experience I have.
LQ: How do you keep your voice primed for the stage?
Keep singing, don’t smoke and don’t strain. I spent many years screaming over the top of pub bands and it almost destroyed my voice. So I went and got some extra vocal training and learned some techniques-lying down to sing, microphone technique, breathing, posture, using my full body and I do swear by warm water and honey!
LQ: Do you have any special pre-show rituals?
I have a shot of port in the green room with the naughty members of the cast, and we have a different cheers for each production we do. I warm up on stage with a mix of yoga, pilates and dance moves. I lay out all my make up and costumes in the same order every night. Oh, and I brush my teeth at least four times each night regardless of whether there’s a stage kiss involved or not – just to be on the safe side!
LQ: What do you consider the highlight of your career?
Singing along with Ben Folds when he heard me and picked me out of the crowd at his concert and having him say ‘amazing pipes babe’ was pretty awesome but I think the greatest highlight was playing Donna in Mamma Mia and having the opportunity to sing Winner Takes It All on a revolving staircase four metres up in the air.
Has anything ever gone hilariously wrong during a performance?
There was the time my stuck-on eyebrow came off on the face of my romantic lead during our big kiss. The first three rows and stage cast lost it and we had to improv our way out of it during fits of giggles. That’s where experience comes in. So much goes wrong and you hope that if you cover well enough no one notices. It’s a bit of a rush actually when people forget lines or enter at wrong time and you have to adlib. I love it.
What’s next for you?
I have fifty things I want to achieve in my 50th year. I want to play Desiree from a Little Night Music and the witch from Into The Woods. I’m looking to collaborate with a song writer who can write the sort of songs that will allow me to use the emotion, power and versatility of my voice. I want to perform with musicians who can feel the peaks and troughs and ebb and flow of melodies together naturally. Performing at festivals is big on my list. I’ve performed cabaret shows for the past three years in Hobart and I’m keen to do more of that locally as well as finish my musical and build my Sound Cloud recordings and following. Phew its going to be a busy year!
Visit the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company website HERE for all of their upcoming shows.
Photo by Bruce Edwards, Mamma Mia at the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company