Laura Hodges is our new Potters Theatre Company manager and has helped many aspiring young stars to achieve their dreams in the performing arts. She has over 15 years of experience and knows what it takes to be a good performer, sharing her skills with over 1,000 young people during her career.
Laura will be working closely with Nigel Pattle, entertainments director, and Nicky Hathway, our show producer. We caught up with Laura to discover more about working at Potters and her top tips for auditioning…
Can you tell us about your role at Potters?
I am looking after the day to day running of Potters Theatre Company, making sure that they are happy, dealing with any problems they may encounter and helping them to progress in their career. We have a new cast starting in April, and we’re going to London for the auditions on 20th and 21st March. Some of the current cast will be renewing their contracts though as they want to stay and we don’t want to let them go! I’ve only recently started at Potters but everyone I’ve met is so warm and welcoming, and the tech team are just a joy too. I will also be doing some vocal coaching and vocal arranging too, and will be found most often in the offices above the Atlas Theatre.
What will you be looking for at the auditions?
Obviously they have to be skilled at singing and dancing, but it’s having the spark and the stage presence which is so important. The theatre industry is tough because there are so many talented people and it can sometimes be difficult to make yourself stand out, so getting your first big break is as much about luck as it is about your abilities. Once you get your first big break, it’s about being a professional and being nice to work with too. Team work at Potters is really important. Also make sure that you are prepared for auditions. It seems obvious but make sure you know what is expected of you, show up early and be prepared to perform straight away. Also enter the audition room with confidence as first impressions are key and the audition starts from the moment you enter the room. Make sure you warm up your voice and body if you are dancing.
What were you doing before Potters?
I was a lecturer and course leader in musical theatre at City College Norwich with around 35/40 students. I have worked as a music and theatre practitioner for Suffolk County Council, Norwich Theatre Royal, Community Music East and NYPT. I have been responsible for many full scale musical theatre productions at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Young People’s Theatre, Sewell Barn Theatre, City College Performing Arts and Mixed Voice. I went to music college in Manchester, training in classical music and know how to play the bassoon.
Did you know Potters before you got the job?
Yes, I brought my students here around a year ago. I met Nicky and kept in touch with her, and the students loved it at Potters. One of my students, Chloe, is in the current cast of Potters Theatre Company.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I have a seven-year-old daughter, who already knows that she wants to be a fashion designer! We are learning to sew together, which also helps me as she is in the Brownies so there’s always badges to sew on! My husband, Matt, is also in the same industry as me and is a musical director. He’s also helped out as deputy keyboard player a few times too! I really love the theatre and seeing musicals like The Once, a folk musical, and adore Wicked. I’ve seen all the current Potters Theatre Company shows and my daughter came to see one of them during Half Term, and she thought it was awesome.